Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
117. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the findings of a study (details supplied) and its follow-up reports; the steps she is taking to address the linguistic emergency in intergenerational transmission of Irish and its use in social networks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30284/20]
The study to which the Deputy refers was commissioned by my Department in 2004 andpublished in 2007.
In order to address a key finding of the study and further underpin the ongoing work of both my Department and other agencies in support of the language both within Gaeltacht regions and nationally, the language planning process was established and accorded statutory footing under the Gaeltacht Act, 2012.
Under the process which is currently underway across all 26 Gaeltacht regions and a number of Gaeltacht Service Towns, language plans are being prepared and implemented in support of the language at community level, with ongoing investment on the part of my Department and with the assistance of both Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge respectively.
To date, of the 26 Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas established under the process, plans in respect of 18 have been approved, as have plans in respect of two Gaeltacht Service Towns.
Both the language planning process, and the systematic implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022, which is being spearheaded by the Department of Education and Skills, represent key elements in the overall suite of measures currently being implemented in support of the language in Gaeltacht regions as set out in the Government's Action Plan for the Language - Plan Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022 - which my Department published following Government approval in 2018. This comprehensive action plan was undertaken in order to further accelerate and better coordinate the implementation of the overarching 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 which represents Government policy in relation to the language and Gaeltacht regions.
The plan contains over 180 measures to be implemented over its 5-year lifespan across the nine areas of action identified in the overarching strategy.
With the publication last week of the inaugural annual progress report on the implementation of the Action Plan, it is apparent that substantial progress is being made on the part of 60 or so stakeholders to advance the implementation of all measures contained in the plan and that there is now a greater recognition than ever that the plan is cross-departmental and involves every Irish language and Gaeltacht organisation in one way or another.
While Census 2016 results in respect of Irish language usage within Gaeltacht regions point to ongoing and significant challenges facing the language, I remain confident that with the advances being made to implement the action plan, including a recast approach in support of the language within the domain of the public service as set out in the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2019, will yield results for the collective and ongoing efforts being made to support the Irish language into the future.
As a consequence of the additional exchequer funding being provided under Budget 2021, my Department, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge will further advance work programmes in support of the Action Plan to the overall benefit of the language and Gaeltacht regions.
In the interests of completeness I might also point out to the Deputy that the measures contained in the Action Plan represent a baseline and that it is envisaged that additional initiatives and measures can be undertaken as additional resources become available.