Language Planning Process
The Gaeltacht Act 2012 gives statutory effect to the language planning process under which language plans will be prepared at community level in areas which could be recognised under the Act as Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, as Gaeltacht Service Towns or as Irish Language Networks.
Communities will be given a period of time to prepare and implement language plans. Under the legislation, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will be responsible for evaluating language plans prior to approval. The Department will also have responsibility for periodically reviewing the implementation of the language plans.
Under the Act, the Gaeltacht will be based on linguistic criteria as opposed to on geographical areas which has been the case to date.
Statutory provision has been made under the Act for Irish Language Networks outside the existing statutory Gaeltacht areas. These will be areas, predominantly in urban communities, in which there is a basic critical mass of community and State support for the Irish language.
Statutory provision has also been made under the Act for Gaeltacht Service Towns, i.e. towns in which services are provided for Gaeltacht areas.
The Regulations, which prescribe the language planning criteria, have been published under section 12 of the Act. These criteria will be essential when evaluating language plans prepared for Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, Gaeltacht Service Towns and Irish Language Networks.
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has published Language Planning Guidelines which provide guidance on the language planning process to be undertaken in Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, Gaeltacht Service Towns and Irish Language Networks.