Stormont impasse prompts Foras na Gaeilge board cut

Work will continue under reduced board until resolution found to North deadlock

Body will have to operate with a reduced board as a result of the Stormont impasse, it has emerged. Photograph: Getty

Body will have to operate with a reduced board as a result of the Stormont impasse, it has emerged. Photograph: Getty

 

The cross-Border body responsible for the promotion of the Irish language throughout the island of Ireland will have to operate with a reduced board as a result of the Stormont impasse, it has emerged.

Replacements for five board members whose terms came to a close this week cannot be made in the absence of the North-South Ministerial Council.

In a statement issued by Foras na Gaeilge it was pointed out that as the northern executive is not currently functioning, “the North-South Ministerial Council cannot meet and interim decisions in relation to the north-south bodies cannot be made”.

Following a board meeting last Friday, Foras na Gaeilge chairperson, Pól Ó Gallchóir, thanked board members Seán Micheál Ó Domhnaill, Gráinne McElwain, Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, Seán Ó Coistealbha and Seán Ó hArgáin, whose terms came to an end on Thursday.

The board now has eight remaining members, five of whom were nominated by the Northern Ireland Assembly and three of whom were nominated by the Irish Government.

Mr Ó Gallchóir said “the work of the Foras na Gaeilge board will continue, although there will be a smaller board, until the two governments find a resolution to this question. We hope this will happen soon in 2020”.

Foras na Gaeilge

A spokesperson said the reduction in the number of board members will not affect the operational functioning of Foras na Gaeilge.

The cross-Border body has a wide range of functions and responsibilities in areas ranging from supporting the development of Irish-medium education, grant-aiding Irish language publications and supporting the development of new terminology to the funding of language organisations throughout the island.

Foras na Gaeilge forms one part of the Language Body alongside Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch (Ulster-Scots Agency). The Language Body is one of six officially designated North-South implementation bodies set up under the Belfast Agreement.

The other implementation bodies are: Waterways Ireland, the Food Safety promotion Board, Trade and Business Development Body (InterTradeIreland), Special European Union Programmes Body and Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission.

Meanwhile, Foras na Gaeilge has extended the public consultation period on its strategic direction during period 2020-2025 to Friday, 31 January 2020. The consultation can be accessed from the Foras na Gaeilge website: forasnagaeilge.ie