Although Conradh Gaeilge welcomes the additional funding being made available in this year’s Budget, with approximately €3 million being allocated to some aspects of the Investment Plan for the Irish Language and the Gaeltacht agreed by 90 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups, this increase does not provide fairness for the Irish language and Gaeltacht communities.
It is positive that there will be additional capital funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta and other Irish language schemes - including Irish language centres, language planning schemes, Gaeltacht scholarships for children in DEIS schools, and grants for the Comharchumainn Phobal Ghaeltachta. And aside from the items included in the agreed Investment Plan, it is also positive that €1.5m is to be spent on travel infrastructure on Tóraigh and Árann. This additional promised funding, however, is not enough and there are many aspects of the Investment Plan which have not been granted any funding.
Dr. Niall Comer, Uachtarán an Chonartha, says that “Conradh na Gaeilge are disappointed that Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, TD, has not done more, especially since we met him in June and discussed the devastating cuts made to Irish language and Gaeltacht funding since 2008, which have not been reversed by the Government in the past four years.”
“The €9m requested for the Investment Plan was needed in this Budget, in order to demonstrate fairness and support for Irish language and Gaeltacht communities.”
Conradh na Gaeilge recognise the increase in budget being made available, but there is a crisis in Gaeltacht areas at the moment, with essential services being reduced. It is high time that the Government accept responsibility and provide full, proper support and rights in order to protect these communities.
According to Julian de Spáinn, Ard-Rúnaí Chonradh na Gaeilge, “this budget demonstrates the need, more than ever, for a Senior Minister for the Irish language and the Gaeltacht within the Government. The preparative work has been done and a coherent way forward is included in the Investment Plan for the Irish Language and the Gaeltacht agreed by 90 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups – all the Government have to do is fund it. A majority of TD’s agree that this plan should be funded.”
Conradh na Gaeilge are appealing to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD, to rectify the lack of fairness in the budget for the Irish language and Gaeltacht communities, by supporting the Investment plan in its entirety in the revised Budget estimates, providing investment which would create over 1,150 jobs and create many other opportunities for the Irish language and its communities.”