Minister of State McHugh welcomes 2019 Budget allocations for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and Islands
As Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht areas and our islands, I know all too well my duty to protect and enhance the use of Irish throughout the country.
Following the success of Bliain na Gaeilge 2018, I welcome the additional funding of €5m allocated to my Department for my area of responsibility in Budget 2019 announced today. This brings to over €67.5m the amount of money to be spent in this area in 2019.
Included in my plans for next year are:
- An additional €0.6m to support the Language Planning Process provided for in the Gaeltacht Act 2012;
- €1.5m in additional capital funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta to invest in employment maintenance and creation in Gaeltacht areas, thus bringing the organisation’s capital allocation up to €8.5m;
- An additional allocation of €0.5m for my Department’s Gaeltacht Support Schemes in order to further support the Gaeltacht Language Planning Process.
- An increase of €0.5m for An tÚdaras primarily to support Gaeltacht co-operatives and community development organisations;
- An additional allocation of €580,000 for my Department’s Language Support Schemes outside the Gaeltacht.
- An additional allocation of €1.5m for the development of harbour infrastructure serving the Aran Islands and Tory and for the provision of essential transport services to the islands.
Included in next year’s Budget is a substantial sum of €13.323m to be provided for An Foras Teanga, comprising Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency. These figures are subject to the agreement of the North South Ministerial Council in the case of An Foras Teanga.
The level of commitment shown by Gaeltacht communities to the language planning process has been most impressive over the past number of years. This is evidenced by the pace at which language plans are now being approved and today’s increased allocations are a recognition of that.
The delivery of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language and its recently launched 5-Year Implementation Plan for 2018-2022 is a key priority for Government and I am pleased to see, therefore, this increase in funding for the Irish language, in line with a commitment given in the Programme for Government.
I am particularly pleased with the additional €2m which has been provided to Údarás na Gaeltachta to enhance the organisation’s important work. It reflects a Government commitment given in Project Ireland 2040 and is also responsive to the needs of Gaeltacht co-operatives and community development structures, representatives of which I met just last week.
Last month, I approved the tenth Gaeltacht language plan, with a further five scheduled for approval before the end of the year. The increase by €600,000 in my Department’s language planning budget to €3.25m next year will ensure that sufficient funding is available to move into the implementation phase of plans over the coming year.
An additional allocation of €580,000 has also been provided for the Department’s Language Support Schemes outside the Gaeltacht. These schemes have contributed greatly to some of the most innovative work being done in relation to the language in recent years, and I look forward to further progress in these areas in 2019.