Written answers

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Photo of Aindrias MoynihanAindrias Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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386. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of the activities of Údarás na Gaeltachta; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21801/21]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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Having just completed the implementation of its three year strategy for the 2018 -2020 period, Údarás na Gaeltachta will shortly be launching its 2021 -2025 strategic plan which sets out a range of aims and objectives in overall support of the ongoing development of the Gaeltacht particularly in the realms of enterprise, community development and language planning.

The successful implementation of the Language Planning Process in the 26 Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas and numerous Gaeltacht Service Towns will form a key part of the Strategy.

The Deputy will also be aware that in order to further enable the organisation to discharge its functions in support of Gaeltacht regions, additional exchequer funding to the value of €8.132m was provided to the Údarás under Budget 2021.

An increase of €4.454m was provided for the organisation's capital budget, ensuring that it has a capital allocation of €14.45m in 2021.

The organisation’s current budget also saw a €2.978 million increase which will assist in further enabling the organisation to better support the implementation of its work programmer for 2021 and into the future. A practical outworking of this additional support was the recent announcement by Údarás na Gaeltachta regarding the forthcoming appointment of an additional number of staff in key administrative roles.

An additional €700,000 was also provided under Budget 2021 for Gaeltacht community development which equates to an overall allocation of €4.75m in 2021.

Údarás na Gaeltachta has pioneered the concept of remote working in rural Gaeltacht areas and its gteic Digital Network consists of 20 Digital hubs with 10 more in development. It is also progressing a range of strategic capital projects across the Gaeltacht. These include Coláiste Íosagáin in Baile Bhuirne, Sean Ospidéal an Daingin, Áras Scéalta an Atlantaigh in Eachléim, Teach Solais Cheann Fhánada, Drioglann Chroithlí, and Páirc na Mara in Cill Ciaráin as well as a range of strategic projects based on the green economy and renewable energy sector.

The Deputy will be aware of the impact of COVID-19 on our society and economy over the past 12 months. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, 427 new jobs were created in Gaeltacht companies during 2020. There were 7,363 full-time and 437 part-time jobs in companies supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta at the end of 2020. Employment remained stable in 68% of client companies while the medical device sector saw a 4% increase in employment during 2020, with over 700 people now employed in the sector in the Gaeltacht.

Údarás na Gaeltachta continues to work in conjunction with my Department and other state agencies such as Enterprise Ireland to ensure that Gaeltacht enterprises also have access to the broad range of targeted national and sectoral measures put in place by Government since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta has approved over €7.4m of COVID-19 supports to date for over 435 Gaeltacht companies to address financial and supply difficulties, ensure cash flow and enhance their ability to access global online sales markets. In addition, many Gaeltacht companies operating in the tourism and hospitality sectors will have accessed the range of supports for those sectors and for businesses in general which have been introduced by Government since the onset of the pandemic.

A number of online events were held during 2020 to mark 40 years since the establishment of Údarás na Gaeltachta. A commemorative booklet has been published online at www.udaras.ie where you will also find further information on the activities of Údarás na Gaeltachta and copies of year-end statements and annual reports.


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