By Elaine Loughlin, Political Correspondent
The Government has defended its funding of the Irish language amid criticism over the level of allocation in Budget 2019.
Conradh na Gaeilge has strongly criticised the Budget 2019 claiming it "fails" Irish speaking communities and have called for a Senior Minister for the Irish Language and the Gaeltacht.
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has received an overall package of €339m for 2019.
Funding for the arts and culture sector will receive a €22.6m increase, representing a 14% jump, while the amount allocated to the heritage sector will go up by 15%.
However, funding for the Irish language and Gaeltacht areas will only receive an 8% funding increase which equates to €5m more money next year.
Minister of State Joe McHugh has defended this level of funding.
"The increased investment of over €67.5m in the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the islands in 2019 will make a real difference to Gaeltacht communities, in particular, with the largest portion of this allocation being directed at Gaeltacht job creation, community development and language planning," said Mr McHugh.
He added that there would be a focus on harbour development and transport services for Gaeltacht islands.