The Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey has said that the funding to be allocated for the Gaeltacht, the islands and the promotion of the Irish language in 2011 will be adequate to maintain the most important services, both within the Gaeltacht and nationally.
€40m for Gaeltacht and islands
Overall funding of more than €40m is being provided for the Gaeltacht and islands in 2011 with the capital components amounting to some €12.2m of the total. An allocation of €19.6m out of the €40m will be for Údarás na Gaeltachta.
Referring to the 20 year strategy for the Irish language that has been approved by the Government and is to be published in the coming weeks, Minister Carey said that the future funding requirements of Údarás na Gaeltachta will be reviewed in the context of proposals for a major restructuring of the organisation contained in the strategy: “I am very pleased that the Government has endorsed the Strategy’s proposals in regard to the reconfiguring of Údarás na Gaeltachta and the broadening its remit in regard to the promotion of the Irish language, both in the Gaeltacht and nationally.” An additional allocation of €5.27m is being provided for the promotion and maintenance of Irish outside the Gaeltacht.
€62m for Rural Development Programme
€62m of the department’s 2011 capital budget of €86m will be used for the Rural Development Programme. Minister Carey stated that “the Gaeltacht and islands will continue to be significant beneficiaries of that Programme through the work of Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta and Comhar na nOileán. Capital funding will also be available to advance or complete a number of key projects, including the Cill Rónáin pier works and the community/family support facilities at Baile na Finne, An Cheathrú Rua and Feothanach.”
He noted the considerable improvements made to Gaeltacht infrastructure in recent years, and the importance of a prioritisation of front-line services. Support for access services for islands communities is being maintained in Budget 2011 at its existing level of €5.7m