Inequality for Irish Speakers in Budget 2016

Conradh na Gaeilge condemns Government decision to cut the budgets of Irish-language & Gaeltacht authorities even further despite spending an additional €1.5 billion in Budget 2016

Conradh na Gaeilge has condemned the Government’s decision to announce a cut of over a million euro from the capital funding of Údarás na Gaeltachta in today’s Budget 2016 (Tuesday, 13 October 2015), especially in the wake of an overall increase of 12% in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s budget for 2016.

Conradh na Gaeilge thinks it a scandal to inflict such a substantial cut on Údarás na Gaeltachta’s capital budget at a time when the Gaeltacht regions are in critical need of investment; furthermore, it seems that a funding cut for the cross-border North South Language Body (An Foras Teanga) is also imminent, which implies that Foras na Gaeilge’s budget will also be cut again in the near future.

Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:

“Despite the Government in the south spending more than an extra €1.5 billion in Budget 2016, they announced extreme cuts to the capital budget of Údarás na Gaeltachta and to the budget of An Foras Teanga as part of today’s budgetary measures. It is obvious that this Government is refusing to treat the Irish-language and Gaeltacht community fairly, and Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on Minister Heather Humphreys to ensure that the authorities with responsibility for developing and promoting the language and the Gaeltacht receive a substantial increase in their funding as a matter of utmost urgency.”

Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, to seek additional funding, not only for Údarás na Gaeltachta’s capital allowance but also for Foras na Gaeilge’s budget, under the Revised Estimates process.

Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge says:

“If we are to believe what was announced in Budget 2016 today, Údarás na Gaeltachta will be forced to function with a capital budget one million euro less than the budget allocated to the Údarás last year, and even more funding will be cut from the Foras na Gaeilge budget as well. Everyone in this country will suffer as a result of this, in terms of opportunities to use and to learn the Irish language, and it will have serious consequences on the work that Conradh na Gaeilge and other Irish-language and Gaeltacht groups do in the community.

“Seachtain na Gaeilge is an annual week-long celebration of the Irish language, and one of the biggest international festivals in the world promoting Irish each year, but the reduced funding resulting from this budget announcement today could, for example, cut the resources for the festival by 50% in addition to having other very severe implications for the community – this is in no way fair or just."

Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the €1 million allocation of funding for the implementation of The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 – 2013 as announced in the budget, but believes funding should not be taken and redirected from other community services and needs to this end. Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, to provide the appropriate funding to implement an Irish-language and Gaeltacht investment plan – as agreed by 70+ community groups and language authorities and which could create 1,160+ jobs – in the years ahead.

 

NOTE FOR THE EDITOR:

 

Éilimh Phobal na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta: An All-Island Irish-Language and Gaeltacht Investment Plan

An all-island investment plan has been agreed by over 70 Irish-language and Gaeltacht groups, including community and all-island organisations and their funding authorities, which could see over 1,160 jobs being created and a variety of opportunities for the public to use Irish generated if it were fully implemented, and if an additional €18 million were invested in Údarás na Gaeltachta and in Foras na Gaeilge.

This is the first time that the Irish-language and Gaeltacht organisations within the community have agreed on specific schemes and projects with the relevant authorities, in order to make the most significant progress and to achieve the best value for money possible, based on all the expertise and experience in the sector. The investment plan was launched in Mansion House in Dublin last Tuesday (6 October 2015), and the Irish-language and Gaeltacht community groups are looking for all political parties to show their support for the plan in their general election manifestos.

The community and all-island organisations are also looking for representative commitments to ensure that the investment plan is acted upon, including the appointment of Senior Ministers north and south to act on behalf of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht and to ensure that the plan is well managed and implemented in full.

 

Foras na Gaeilge’s Budget:

The budgets of both Foras na Gaeilge and Údarás na Gaeltachta were reduced substantially in recent years, while at the same time there was a broadening of their responsibilities and additional duties to protect and promote the Irish language and the Gaeltacht were placed upon them. New government policies and legislation such as The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 and The Gaeltacht Act 2012 in the south, and The Strategy to Improve and Protect the Development of the Irish Language 2015-2035 in the north, had significant resource implications for both Foras na Gaeilge and Údarás na Gaeltachta, though these Irish-language and Gaeltacht authorities were not provided with any additional resources necessary for the implementation of these programmes, rather their respective budgets have been severely cut in recent years, and the Budget 2016 as announced today (Tuesday, 13 October 2015) would indicate that Foras na Gaeilge’s budget will also be cut again in the near future.

 

Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community, and its main aim is to promote the use of Irish as the standard language in Ireland. The organisation works on behalf of the Irish language and the people who use it throughout the island of Ireland and around the world. There are almost 180 branches of Conradh na Gaeilge and it is also possible to register as an individual member. Since the establishment of Conradh na Gaeilge on the 31st July of 1893, its members have been active in promoting the Irish language in every aspect of life in Ireland – from legal matters and education issues, to developments in the media and Irish language services. Conraitheoirí are at the forefront of campaigns to secure and strengthen the rights of the Irish-language community, and all members of Conradh na Gaeilge work hard to develop the use of Irish in their own areas. Conradh na Gaeilge runs Irish-language courses in Dublin, Ennis, Galway, Limerick, Mayo, Newry, Tipperary, and elsewhere across Ireland. More information: www.cnag.ie/courses

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge