Údarás na Gaeltachta recognises the need for cutbacks in public expenditure and the need to restructure certain aspects of the state administration structure as a basis for the recovery of the national economy. However, it disagrees strongly with the recommendations of An Bord Snip Nua regarding the functions associated with the Gaeltacht and Irish language.
It is the considered opinion of An tÚdarás that the abolishment of the Government Department and Ministry responsible for Gaeltacht and Irish language affairs and the transfer of these functions to the Department of Education and Science would be detrimental to the Gaeltacht and the Irish Language. Other than the transfer of the Údarás enterprise development function to a new national enterprise organisation under the aegis of Enterprise Ireland, it is unclear from the recommendations what the future holds regarding Údarás’s other functions.
An tÚdarás is very much in favour of collaborative partnerships with other organisations in order to achieve value for money for the taxpayer but it believes that a dedicated development agency is required to address the particular development, language and social needs of the Gaeltacht communities through a comprehensive investment programme such as has been implemented by Údarás na Gaeltachta since its establishment.
A high level of co-operation currently exists between Údarás na Gaeltachta and Enterprise Ireland and An tÚdarás believes that the Government’s objectives regarding employment and enterprise promotion can be achieved by building on this existing foundation rather than amalgamating it with a large national organisation as recommended in the report.
An tÚdarás urges the Gaeltacht and Irish language communities and organisations to examine these recommendations carefully, evaluate the implications associated with their implementation and communicate their views to their public representatives during the process of consultation that lies ahead.