Minister of State Kyne looks back on a successful year
As we approach the end of the year, the Government Chief Whip and Minister for State for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne TD, looks back on the achievements of his Department over the year regarding advancing the various programmes for which he has responsibility.
Minister Kyne stated the following: “We have made good progress during 2019 with regard to the implementation of the Irish Language Action Plan 2018-2022 and additional support is being provided for the language, the Gaeltacht and island communities. I hope to have the first Annual Report on the implementation of that plan published early in the New Year bringing the significant achievements to date to the attention of the Irish language community and Gaeltacht communities.
The Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2019 was published recently. It will act as a tool for us in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, enabling us to work with colleagues across the State System in order to greatly improve Irish language services.
A comprehensive consultation process is currently being undertaken regarding the Government’s new strategy in relation to the development of all islands. Our aim now is to ascertain what else can be achieved, or what changes are required in current policies in order to ensure that island communities are supported and developed.”
The progress includes the following:
- Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2019 published – A National Plan regarding the provision of services in the Irish language is to be compiled, with language standards to be introduced in place of language schemes.
- Interdepartmental Committee on the Development of the Islands established and a comprehensive consultation process commenced with island communities.
- Progress concerning the Language Planning Process – 16 language plans approved and 10 Language Planning Officers employed so far under the process.
- Additional 3 year fund provided for Arts in the Gaeltacht to further support indigenous arts in the Gaeltacht.
- Connemara Airport purchased by the State, bringing certainty to the Aran Islands community regarding the future of their air service.
- Early Years Courses in the Gaeltacht – The first proposals in relation to availing of the 95% maximum level under the Community and Language Support Programme for Irish language early years services approved in the Gaeltacht.
- Comprehensive Technology Curriculum available – for the first time in the Irish language, for second level pupils.
- Support provided for a range of specialised third level Irish language courses.
- Further steps taken to end the derogation regarding the use of the Irish language in the institutions of the European Union by the end of 2021.
- DEIS Gaeltacht Fund established whereby 50 scholarships were provided in 2019 to help DEIS post-primary pupils to attend Irish language colleges during the summer.
- ERASMUS Gaeltacht Fund established whereby third level institutions were enabled to offer their students a Gaeltacht semester.
- Additional hours for Language Assistants in Gaeltacht Schools.
- On line training for Irish language teachers – a new facility for teaching Irish to adult learners
Minister Kyne stated “Only the work of my own Department is mentioned here but the great work done by Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge over the past year regarding the promotion of the language in the Gaeltacht and throughout the islands should not be forgotten.
I am grateful to all organisations – state, semi-state and voluntary organisations – that provided input during the year regarding the promotion of the language.”