Budget ‘fails’ Gaeltacht communities – Conradh na Gaeilge

Additional funding outlined in Budget 2019 is welcome but well below hoped-for €9m

Conradh na Gaeilge wants appointment of a senior minister with responsibility for Irish and the Gaeltacht. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Conradh na Gaeilge wants appointment of a senior minister with responsibility for Irish and the Gaeltacht. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

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Budget 2019 has failed to deliver fairness to Gaeltacht communities and highlights the need for a senior Government minister with Cabinet responsibility for the Gaeltacht and the Irish language, Conradh na Gaeilge has said.

Almost 90 community, language and Gaeltacht organisations came together last week to support a pre-budget call for funding of an investment plan that would help create almost 1,200 new jobs in Gaeltacht areas, some of which are among the most disadvantaged parts of the country.

The groups, many of which have experienced significant funding cuts in the past decade, were seeking an allocation of €9 million in this year’s budget.

Conradh na Gaeilge said the additional promised funding outlined in Budget 2019 is welcome but “is not enough” to meet the needs of Gaeltacht communities.

‘Devastating cuts’

In a statement issued by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Minister of State Joe McHugh welcomed an overall funding increase of €5 million for his department.

Dr Niall Comer, president of Conradh na Gaeilge, said the allocation of some €3 million to projects outlined in the investment plan fell short of the €9 million needed to deliver fairness to the communities in question.

“Conradh na Gaeilge are disappointed that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has not done more, especially since we met him in June and discussed the devastating cuts made to Irish language and Gaeltacht funding since 2008, which have not been reversed by the Government in the past four years.”

However, it welcomed €1.5 million in additional capital funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta, the State agency responsible for the economic development of Gaeltacht areas, bringing its overall capital allocation to €8.5 million.

Conradh na Gaeilge general secretary Julian de Spáinn said Budget 2019 highlighted the need, “now more than ever”, for the appointment of a senior minister with responsibility for Irish and the Gaeltacht.

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