Friday, April 23, 2010


The 20-year Strategy will be integrated across the routine operations of the agencies of the State, with strong Government direction and leadership. All sections of public administration and key national and local stakeholders have a role to play in its implementation. For Irish to be expanded in its use will require ‘normalisation’. This term draws on the experience of other languages whose roles have been diminished. Irish will only attain a more secure social position through an active awareness and positive attitudes aimed at reversing its marginalisation, as well as greater unself-conscious use of the language for mainstream and routine purposes of communication. This task requires that all relevant agencies co-operate in pursuing the goals and programmes of the Strategy and that a coherent and effective management structure be in place for the Strategy.

The following will be the key Government structures to deliver the Strategy:
  • • The Cabinet Committee on Irish and the Gaeltacht, chaired by the Taoiseach, will maintain oversight of progress and report to Government as necessary.
  • • A Senior Officials Group made up of high-level officials from relevant Departments will support the Cabinet Committee.
  • • There will continue to be a senior Minister and a Government Department (the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs) with central responsibility for Irish language affairs.
Planning and Implementation of the Strategy will be directed from a Strategy Unit within that Department, with dedicated staff and the function of assigning duties and implementation roles to implementation agencies, as necessary.

The Strategy Unit will be responsible for:
  • • overseeing the strategic planning process;
  • • monitoring the development of resources;
  • • ensuring cross-departmental implementation of initiatives;
  • • providing expert advice;
  • • overseeing operational plans as developed by the implementation bodies; and
  • • publishing updates and relevant documentation for public information.
A small number of seconded staff with expertise in public administration management, language planning and education may be assigned to the Unit for specific tasks, if necessary. Evaluations, as required, or specific services may be commissioned by the Unit from existing agencies or from the private sector. Sectoral plans and commitments will be delivered through relevant Departments and agencies.

With regard to the main implementation agency to be responsible for delivering on the Strategy, it is proposed that an existing Irish language agency - Údarás na Gaeltachta - will be fundamentally restructured as a new national Irish language agency - Údarás na Gaeilge. While the implementation of certain Gaeltacht policies and plans will continue to be the responsibility of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, it may, however, devolve functions to Údarás na Gaeilge, as appropriate.

Foras na Gaeilge will continue to deliver on its statutory responsibilities in relation to Irish. These include undertaking supportive projects and grant-aiding bodies and groups to support the language as appropriate, developing terminologies and dictionaries, supporting Irish-medium education and the teaching of the Irish language on the island, and generally facilitating and encouraging the use of the language in public and private life. In fully carrying out its remit, Foras na Gaeilge will remain a key element of the support structure for the language in both parts of the island.

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