Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal, Independent)
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196. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when the election to the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta will take place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31931/22]

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal, Independent)
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197. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when the findings of the public consultation on Údarás na Gaeltachta will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31932/22]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 196 and 197 together.

The Programme for Government commits to undertaking a review of the organisational and governance structures of Údarás na Gaeltachta, including the selection/election process of the Board. The overall objective of this review is to ensure that An tÚdarás has access to the relevant and appropriate expertise, skills and community input required in order for the Board to efficiently and effectively support the organisation in discharging its functions, to the ultimate benefit of the Gaeltacht communities it serves.

The current Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta was appointed on 16 January 2018 for a 5-year period to 15 January 2023 in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Gaeltacht Act 2012. This is the second Board to be appointed under the revised arrangements in accordance with the Act.

Under the current arrangement, appointments to the Board are made in two ways. Instead of holding direct elections, nominations are made to the Board from the Local Authorities whose functional areas are Gaeltacht areas. It also ensures that the appointments of the other seven members who come through the system administered by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) have the appropriate expertise and skills - in the overall interest of Údarás na Gaeltachta and the communities it serves as a state institution.

There have been a number of changes to the organisation's range of activities since 2012 - including the implementation of the language planning process, the success of which depends on the ongoing input of Gaeltacht communities from the bottom up.

In this regard, it is recognised that a more democratic and revised approach may be timely.

In order to advance matters, my Department has been working with the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) to progress the appointment of consultants to undertake the review. Tenders were sought from the market on two separate occasions since last summer but none were received on either occasion. 

In light of this, steps are now in train on the part of the Department to appoint a consultancy with a view to commencing and completing the review as soon as possible. This in turn will inform next steps in relation to the Board of An tÚdarás. 

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