Budget 2017 actively undermined the growth of the Irish Language – McGrath
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphries to immediately review the funding allocation provided for the development and growth of the Irish language. Deputy McGrath was speaking on foot of an analysis by Conradh na Gaeilge which estimates that due to poor resourcing at government level the number of Irish-language summer camps has been reduced from 92 in 2015 to 59 in 2016, a drop of 35%:
“There are many aspects of this year’s Budget that are deeply unsatisfactory. However its approach to the funding of the Irish language has been truly dismal.
How can the Ministers Department claim to be fulfilling its responsibility for the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 when according to Conradh na Gaeilge both the Foras na Gaeilge budget and the Údarás na Gaeltachta capital budget have been reduced by over 50% since 2008.
I also understand that there was €0 of new funding allocated for these budgets in 2017 and that Seachtain na Gaeilge’s operational budget was reduced by 40% in 2016 from 2015.
If this is what the Minister or the Department understand as a robust commitment to the 20-Year Strategy then I think serious questions have to be asked.
When the Budget was being delivered both the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure spoke about the kind of Ireland we want to create. Surely that ought to include a more passionate and resourced commitment to fostering the growth of our national language.
We need clear and firm commitments that the cuts to funding allocations will be reversed and increased.
Anything less than this and the government will have demonstrated yet again that when it comes to the Irish language, lip service continues to be the order of the day,” concluded Deputy McGrath.