What is Language Planning?

Language Planning is an organized intervention which aims to influence language behaviour or beliefs.

The goal of the Language Planning Process is to strengthen Irish as a family and community language. This is done by implementing language plans in recognised areas to increase the use of Irish in certain areas in the community – e.g. in the family, among the youth, in the education system, in the business sector and in the public sector. Support is provided to the communities to implement these plans and Language Planning Officers and Language Planning Assistant Officers are hired to undertake this work.

Language Planning in the Gaeltacht

Údarás na Gaeltachta are responsible for coordinating the language planning process in the Gaeltacht. Since the Gaeltacht Act 2012 was enacted, the Gaeltacht has been divided into 26 various areas which are called Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas (LPT). According to the Act, the community in every LPT must prepare a language plan for their own area so that it can be recognised as a Gaeltacht area.  

As well as the Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, three Gaeltacht towns are recognised as Gaeltacht Service Towns (BSG). 

In the case of these LPT and BSG, an organization in that community is chosen as the lead organization to direct the process on the ground. A seven-year language plan is agreed with the lead organisation, and each area is at a different stage of the process: some of the LPT are in the sixth year of implementing the language plan, for example, while other areas are only at the beginning of the process.

You can look at the language plans that have been approved so far here.

Language Planning outside of the Gaeltacht

As well as the 26 LPTs and three BSGs, there are 13 towns that sit just outside the Gaeltacht, that can be recognised as Gaeltacht Service Towns. There are also five areas outside of the Gaeltacht that are recognised as Irish Language Networks; three areas have been recognised by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and two are located in the North of Ireland. 

Foras na Gaeilge are responsible for coordinating the language planning process outside the Gaeltacht. More information regarding the language planning process outside of the Gaeltacht can be found at Gaelphobal.

Key Points

  •  There have been 26 Language Planning Areas and 16 Gaeltacht Service Towns announced by The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
  • Organisations in those areas will have an opportunity to apply to Údarás na Gaeltachta to prepare an integrated language plan. An tÚdarás will be responsible for selecting language planning Lead Organisations to prepare and implement language plans in each Language Planning Area and each Gaeltacht Service Town located within a Language Planning Area. The most suitable Lead Organisations will be selected to develop a language plan aimed at increasing the use of Irish in their community.
  • The selected Lead Organisations will have a period of up to 2 years to prepare language plans. Údarás na Gaeltachta assists the organisations with the preparation of these plans. The purpose of the language plans is to enhance the level of Irish-language usage in the home, the community, in education, social, business and public structures.
  • Following the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s assessment of the language plans, in accordance with the prescribed language planning criteria, the Minister approves the plans. The area concerned is given recognition as a Gaeltacht Language Planning Area, and the town concerned is given recognition as a Gaeltacht Service Town.
  • Selected Lead Organisations have 7 years to implement their respective language plans.
  • The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media reviews the implementation of the plans during the 7-year period.
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta provides Lead Organisations with support, advice and guidance in implementing the language plans.
  • The selected Lead Organisations work in cooperation with community structures that play a central role in preserving and strengthening the Irish language in the Gaeltacht, organisations such as Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta Teo, childcare centres, Muintearas Teo, Ealaín na Gaeltachta Teo, community development organisations and groups, voluntary groups, as well as Language Services Centres.

Approved Language Plans