9th June 2021
With the growing certainty of increased North-South funding we call on Foras na Gaeilge to urgently prioritise the SPG community scheme
All of the 22 groups under the Irish Language Community Scheme which are funded by Foras na Gaeilge are together calling on Foras na Gaeilge to finally agree sustainable funding in the new cycle of the scheme at their Board meeting on Friday, 11th of June 2021. Foras na Gaeilge consultation began in May 2020 and no decision has been taken to date.
Dr Niall Comer, President, Conradh na Gaeilge, commented:
“One year ago, Foras na Gaeilge began a consultation process on the Irish Language Community Scheme (SPG) that prompted an overwhelming reaction from groups for additional investment in the successful scheme after a decade of cutbacks. This scheme is arguably the most valuable of all community funded Irish language schemes, with huge social and local return on historically very limited investment. SPG’s now seek €55,000 per group to enable them to return to a 5-day week with an adequate budget, ensure no differential treatment for those in a Language Network Area or a Gaeltacht Service Town and that funding be made available for new groups to be awarded SPG funding. Local groups have attracted widespread political and public support from across the island including political parties, government ministers, a Joint Oireachtas Committee and politicians in both the Dáil and Stormont. A year of uncertainty and delayed decisions on the scheme's future has passed. It is long past the time for Foras na Gaeilge to do the right and fair thing and provide adequate funding for the Irish Language Community Scheme and provide certainty for SPG groups and communities without further delay. ”
Irish language Development Officer, Brian Ó Gaibín, added:
“We work hard in our communities and despite the challenges and increased workload in recent years, we continue to provide daily services to our growing Irish language community whether it is learners, those raising their families through Irish, or those attending Irish medium education. In recent years, SPG groups have suffered some of the harshest cutbacks to programme costs and salaries, including reducing development officers to a 4 day week.”
“In 2021, Foras na Gaeilge will have a larger budget as a result of the SPG groups like ourselves and other groups lobbying political representatives in recent years. We are therefore looking for confirmation from Foras na Gaeilge as a matter of urgency that they will invest in the next scheme and provide an adequate budget to all the groups ensuring €55,000 per group. Furthermore, no SPG group, who happens to have an Irish Language Network or a Gaeltacht Service Town in their area, should have their budget reduced and in so doing jeopardising their viability and contradicting the fundamental principles of local language planning.”
It is important to note that groups funded under the SPG scheme previously 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 in June 2020.
Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha
Bainisteoir Abhcóideachta, Leas-ArdRúnaí, Conradh na Gaeilge
Conchúr Ó Muadaigh
Bainisteoir Abhcóideachta, Conradh na Gaeilge
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 one of the most effective methods of building and nurturing local language communities and also the most effective way of delivering substantial 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.