‘Insufficient funding for Gaeltacht affairs’

The Government has been accused of failing to provide sufficient funding in the budget to promote the Irish language.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe had announced an increase of €2.5m for groups advocating promotion and development of the Irish language.

Additional funding will be provided for the language planning process, including Údarás na Gaeltachta and various training programs in Irish.

However, Conradh na Gaeilge said it was “extremely concerned” at what it said is an insufficient contribution for the Irish language and for the Gaeltacht.

Its president, Dr Niall Comer, said the allocation was not enough to sustain the Irish Langauge and Gaeltacht Investment Plan agreed with over 80 Irish language bodies in 2015.

“A large percentage of this allocation is going towards language planning in the Gaeltacht which is to be welcomed, but the Government has let down 87 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups as it is not allocating sufficient funding to their agreed investment plan.

“The investment plan for the Irish language and Gaeltacht has the potential to create more than 1,150 jobs and provide many more opportunities for people to use the language,” he said.

Dr Comer called on the Taoiseach to “directly intervene” in the process of the revised estimates to ensure “fairness and equality for the language community and the financing of the language investment plan as a whole”.

General secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, Julian de Spáinn, said the imbalance was clear when the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht’s boast that the Arts Council’s budget has increased by 20% over the last three years, while Foras na Gaeilge’s baseline budget has been reduced by 4.5% over the same period.

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