Statement from Minister Catherine Martin TD and Minister of State Dara Calleary TD
Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, today (July 2) welcomed Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, the Irish Language and Sport and Government Chief Whip, Dara Calleary TD, to the Department, and said that she was looking forward to working in partnership with him across these important sectors.
Minister Martin said “the Covid-19 crisis has had a very severe impact on all areas of society, and it is particularly acute in our arts and tourism sectors. I look forward to working towards fulfilling the Government’s commitment to assisting these sectors in particular as we plan our country’s economic recovery.”
“Having examined the Initial Report of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, I met with the Taskforce yesterday, where I heard at first hand the impact that Covid-19 has had on this vital sector of the economy. As we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions it is clear that the challenges facing the sector are without precedent and I look forward to the outcome of the Taskforce’s deliberations and to working with the sector towards a sustainable recovery.”
She added: “I am also aware of the challenges that exist for the National Governing Bodies of Sport and sports clubs as sports begin to return and I look forward to meeting the key stakeholders in the sector in the near future.”
The Minister also noted the report of the Expert Advisory Group to the Arts Council which sets out a range of proposals to support the sector in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic. “I look forward to working with all the stakeholders to implement the full range of measures set out in the Programme for Government to address the needs of the arts sector at this time,” she said.
The Minister noted that our unique language and culture and sport are central to how we identify as a nation and that this in turn is at the heart of what attracts foreign and domestic tourists to holiday in Ireland. She added that she “looks forward to forging stronger links between all of these elements to build a rich and rewarding cultural experience for our citizens and visitors alike”.
The minister also underlined the importance of the media and the audio-visual sector in Ireland. She said: “Covid-19, above all else, has shown us the critical importance of a vibrant and informed media, and particularly the importance of public sector broadcasting in both of our national languages. I know that this sector faces very specific challenges and I look forward to engaging strongly on this important area, which is a fundamental pillar of a modern and pluralistic democracy”.
Minister Martin said that the Irish language and the Gaeltacht was of huge importance to the Government and to her personally, and that she is looking forward immensely to working closely with the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, the Irish Language and Sport, Dara Calleary TD, to progress the broad remit of the Department.
Minister Calleary said: “I was delighted to meet with Minister Martin and with officials from the Gaeltacht and Sport division today.” In relation to the Gaeltacht and Gaeilge, Minister Calleary said, “these are challenging times in all sectors of society, not least in our Gaeltacht areas, where the cancellation of this year’s Summer Colleges will have a huge impact. I am aware of the challenges the language is facing, and of the need for the Government to take a proactive approach to promoting the language across the island, while protecting “Tobar an Dúchais”, those Gaeltacht communities for whom Irish is their principal community language.
“The commitments in relation to the language and the Gaeltacht contained in the Programme for Government have provided me with a strong mandate to bring forward important legislative and policy initiatives aimed at fulfilling my new role. I know Minister Martin has a keen interest in the Irish language and the Gaeltacht herself, and I look forward to working closely and productively with her in the Department.”
In relation to sport, the Minister of State said: “I look forward to doing what I can to ensure sporting events return safely for all. During the pandemic, it was clear that running, cycling and walking became increasingly popular as people wanted to mind their physical and mental health. We will build on this during my term in office to improve public health and wellbeing. We will also ensure our High Performance Athletes are assisted as much as possible to achieve their goals and inspire our nation.”