Now that Foras na Gaeilge will have a larger budget in 2021, as a result of the SPG groups and other groups lobbying the country's politicians, it is vital to invest in the next scheme in 2021 and provide an adequate budget to all the groups, without conditions that would reduce that budget.
All of the 22 groups under the Irish Language Community Scheme throughout the country, which are funded by Foras na Gaeilge, are calling on Foras na Gaeilge to be fair and to fund the next scheme, which is due to start in 2021, adequately and without imposing any conditions that would reduce the budget of any group that succeeds in securing funding in the new scheme.
Dr Niall Comer, President, Conradh na Gaeilge, commented:
“Foras na Gaeilge will have a larger budget in 2021 as a result of lobbying by members of Irish Language Community Scheme groups across the island and now it is only right and proper that adequate funding be provided for the next Irish Language Community Scheme which will start in July 2021. There is widespread support for what we are calling for from political parties and from the public for this additional funding, as indicated by a majority of submissions in the public consultation on the Irish Language Community Scheme. At least €55,000 per group should be provided to enable the groups to return to 5-day week employment instead of the 4-day week that they had to implement since the current scheme was cut in 2016. This was one of the meanest cuts made to the work of the Irish language in the community and now needs to be reversed. ”
Brian Ó Gaibhín, Chair of the National Irish Language Network Committee, added:
“As part of the Government's new approach to promoting the language north and south Irish Language Networks and Gaeltacht Service Towns are due to be established shortly. The groups in charge of these have drawn up specific work plans, which are separate and different from the work of the Irish language community schemes. We are, therefore, looking for confirmation from Foras na Gaeilge that no SPG group, who happens to have an Irish Language Network or a Gaeltacht Service Town in their area, will have their budget reduced and in so doing jeopardising their viability. Any condition or impediment that runs counter to the basic principles of language planning must be removed immediately. Foras na Gaeilge will have a bigger budget next year and they can give that assurance to the groups with SPGs now if they prioritise the vital work in the community that these groups do. ”
It is important to note that there was a time when groups with SPGs received around €80,000 a year and, therefore, it is very reasonable to be calling for €55,000 per group in the next scheme. Additionally, this request is in line with the vast majority of responses submitted to the consultation organised by Foras na Gaeilge on this issue earlier in the year.
NOTE FOR THE EDITOR ABOUT THE SPG:
The Irish Language Community Scheme (SPG) provides funding for local Irish language community groups to employ a full time Language Development Officer to implement a local action plan. The Irish Language Community Scheme is recognised as the most effective method of building and nurturing local language communities and also the most effective way of delivering funding directly to the community in a way that ensures the best value from that public investment. Funding for the Irish Language Community Scheme is administered by Foras na Gaeilge.