Government formation talks focus on Irish language

A network of Irish language centres around the country and Irish-speaking childcare workers were among issues raised during government formation talks today.
Government formation talks focus on Irish language

A network of Irish language centres around the country and Irish-speaking childcare workers were among issues raised during government formation talks today.

Parties broached the idea of extending out pub licensing hours in order to try and help the arts and entertainment sectors after the worst of the pandemic passes.

It is also understood that strong consideration is being given to moving responsibility for RTÉ, radio and TV to the Department of Arts while biodiversity may be moved across under the remit of the Department of Communications.

The continued government talks saw Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party all share ideas and negotiate over a programme for government, conscious of the financial constraints caused by the pandemic.

It is understood that the Greens are pushing for a national network of Irish language centres around the country, similar to ones in Clondalkin, Dublin, Derry, and Belfast, while Fine Gael want a landmark Irish language centre in the capital.

The Greens also want Irish language childcare facilities, similar to naionra playgroups for pre-school children.

Fianna Fáil are pushing for the Gaeltacht to be overseen by a senior minister and for more schools to be able to teach subjects through Irish.

All three parties discussed expanding late-night entertainment initiatives, in part to help support the devastated arts sector after shows, concerts and exhibitions were all cancelled during the pandemic.

Staggering alcohol serving times could help spread out crowds in facilities and therefore allow for more event and arts opportunities, negotiators discussed.

However, it is acknowledged this is a cross-departmental issue which will likely have to be addressed by justice authorities.

Arts Minister Josepha Madigan has already championed the idea of night mayors and expanding opening hours for exhibitions and concerts.

Several different party sources also confirmed that responsibility for RTÉ, radio and TV may be moved from communications to the arts.

Input on biodiversity may then be moved from arts to climate change, the same department currently as communications, an option favoured by the Greens.

The parties also discussed how to support the maintenance of old historic buildings or heritage sites in towns and how apprentices could be trained. Parties also want greater funding for the Arts Council.

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