The economy of the Gaeltacht, the budget of Údarás na Gaeltachta and the lack of information in the Irish language published by the government on the crown virus will be among the topics being discussed by the Dáil Covid-19 committee today
Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Seán Kyne will appear before the Dáil Covid-19 committee this evening, the first time the case of the Gaeltacht and the Irish language has been discussed in the Houses of the Oireachtas since the outbreak of the crisis.
The economy of the Gaeltacht, the budget of Údarás na Gaeltachta and the lack of information in Irish published by the government about the crown virus are among the topics the committee will be discussing.
Chairman of the Covid-19 Committee, independent TD Michael McNamara, said committee members were looking forward to hearing about the “support packages being considered by the government for the Gaeltacht” and the “social and economic impact” of Covid- 19 on the Gaeltacht areas and the islands, “at a time when families could not see their people”.
Sinn Féin’s Irish language spokesperson, Aengus Ó Snodaigh told Report.ie, that he would seek clarification from the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht about the government’s “weak position” in providing information about the pandemic to the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community.
Ó Snodaigh will also want to know what the government plans for enterprise and tourism in the Gaeltacht so that these areas can survive the crisis.
“There is also a need to clarify for islanders about a permit to travel to the islands,” TD TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said.
Aindrias Moynihan, a Fianna Fáil TD, told Report.ie that there were “glaring gaps” in government information bulletins on Covid-19 that made “Irish people” dependent on important information English only.
Green Party Irish and Gaeltacht spokesperson Peter Kavanagh said, that the government had a responsibility to “boost” the Gaeltacht economy and “support” the island community, which depends on the tourism sector.
“The government acknowledges the loss of € 50 million to the Gaeltacht as the summer colleges have been cancelled but the € 1.6 million awarded to the families of housewives in compensation has so far been announced. The remainder of the € 4.7 million packages was given to the summer colleges to pay back deposits to parents, ”said County Councilor Peter Kavanagh.
The Secretary-General of Conradh na Gaeilge Julian de Spain said that budget and “the lack of information in Irish and the “disregard” of the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community “urgent issues ”submitted by the organization to Committee members and the Irish language spokespersons of the parties.
De Spain said that the Gaeltacht and Irish-speaking community needed “certainty” that the Covid-19 crisis would not suffer the same disruption in the sector as was already the case during the 2008 economic crisis.
De Spain said that today’s Covid-19 committee meeting is not a solution to the obstacle to discussion regarding the Irish language and the Gaeltacht in the Dáil.
“It is good to discuss these issues relating to the Coronavirus and the Gaeltacht and the Irish language at the Covid-19 committee, but it is an indication of the urgent need for a senior minister for the Irish language and the Gaeltacht. The Irish language and the Gaeltacht, as was the case with recent Heritage and Culture matters, should be discussed in the Dáil rather than at committee level, ”said Conradh na Gaeilge’s Secretary-General Julian de Spain.