Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
A detailed breakdown of my Department's estimated expenditure will be provided in the Revised Estimates Volume 2020 which will be published prior to year end.
Total funding for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands included in Programme C of my Department's Vote for 2020 amounts to almost €58m, up from €55.5m last year, which represents a 4% increase.
Údarás na Gaeltachta will receive an additional capital allocation of €1m, bringing its core capital allocation to €10m (an increase of over 11% on 2019). This will enable the attraction of additional investment to Gaeltacht areas and support the maintenance and creation of jobs in Údarás client companies.
Údarás na Gaeltachta will also receive an additional €200,000 in current funding for Gaeltacht co-operatives, bringing to over €1m the increases provided to this important sector over the past 5 years.
Údarás na Gaeltachta will also have access to additional capital funding in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
I am particularly pleased to be in a position to obtain additional current and capital funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta at a time when the work of the organisation will be more important than ever.
Investment in the delivery of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 will remain a priority in 2020. An additional €500,000 will go towards the language planning process in 2020. The establishment of Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas is well underway, and my Department expects up to 23 language plans to be approved before the end of the year. So far, of the 26 Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, 16 plans have been approved to date. This follows measures announced over the past year to support the language planning process, including additional significant investment to support the early years sector, language transmission in the family setting and the traditional arts.
An additional allocation of €275,000 for 2020 will ensure the continued provision of essential transport services to the islands. This additional allocation follows the recent establishment by me of an Inter-Departmental Committee for Island Development.
The aim of Programme D of my Department's Vote is to maintain, develop and promote cross-border co-operation in the context of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Under this programme, both Irish and Ulster-Scots language and culture are promoted through the work of Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency. Unfortunately, in the absence of a North-South Ministerial Council, it has not been possible to allocate additional monies to this programme in 2020. That said, my Department makes every effort, where possible, to allocate funding direct to Foras na Gaeilge's lead organisations to support the services they provide to Irish-speaking communities.
Budget 2020 has been framed in the context of an imminent Brexit. However, through the continued investment, in challenging times, outlined herein, we will continue with our work on the implementation of the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language next year.