At it’s meeting in Na Forbacha today (22 January) the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta welcomed the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language 2010-2030 which was published recently. An tÚdarás recognises that this is a critical time for the Irish language as a community language in the Gaeltacht, as outlined in the Comprehensive Linguistic Study on the Use of the Irish Language in the Gaeltacht which was published in 2007, and that radical steps are necessary in order to save the language. An tÚdarás also recognises that the future of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht is intertwined with the advancement and development of the Irish language on a national level and that strong links are required connecting both sides of the Irish language community.
The integral role of An tÚdarás in the implementation of the 20 Year Strategy is encouraging and the Bord views the recommendations outlined in the strategy and later confirmed publicly by the Minister in relation to An tÚdarás retaining its current enterprise, community development and language powers, in addition to the new functions it will acquire, as a vote of confidence in An tÚdarás. The Bord agreed that the appropriate funding should be made available to organisation to accomplish these functions. An tÚdarás welcomes the new national role it is to attain concerning Irish language development initiatives and it recognises the importance of an organisation based in the Gaeltacht engaging in language-based initiatives on a national level. An tÚdarás also concurred that the future name of the organisation should be amended to Údarás na Gaeltachta agus na Gaeilge.
The Bord welcomed the radical restructuring proposed to the Irish language in the education system. Recommendations outlined in the strategy address the critical need for specific qualifications for teaching through the medium of Irish, a professional training centre focused on training teachers through the medium of Irish, changes to the curriculum with emphasis on the spoken language, the reservation of 20% of places in training colleges for students from Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna and funding from the Higher Education Authority for third level education through Irish.
The Bord agreed on further amendments to the strategy which will be submitted to the Minister and the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, which are currently accepting submissions on the Strategy.