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Údarás outlines scale of investment in Gaeltacht

Grants worth more than €7m have been approved by Údarás Na Gaeltachta to boost employment in Irish-speaking areas of the country.

The annual budget of €7.125m for 2023 was approved at the final meeting of the organisation’s current board held in Na Forbacha last week.

Funding will be channeled to community development organisations in the Conamara Gaeltacht and elsewhere to support language plans, promote tourism and cultural projects, and renewable energy initiatives.

Údarás Na Gaeltachta’s Gaeltacht Diaspora project was allocated €59,000. This will be used for awareness campaigns this year, as well as a new genealogical service.

“There is a strong Gaeltacht diaspora worldwide which is valuable in terms of networking, attracting people home, investments and more. We intend to conduct research focusing on the diaspora of the various Gaeltacht regions as well as organising events for the Gaeltacht and Diaspora communities,” an Údarás spokesperson said.

A provision of €165,000 was to support the cultural tourism sector, building on a partnership established with Fáilte Ireland last year.

Some €120,000 was approved for its Community Enterprise Scheme to help community organisations with the cost of developing small community initiatives, carrying out research or purchasing essential equipment.

A total of €2.1m was approved for its subsidiaries, and one strategic company.

This includes €619,500 for Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta who provide a support service for a range of early Gaeltacht education services; and €879,500 for Muintearas CTR to promote training, education, youth and early education projects and to administer the Summer Camps Scheme.

Another €600,000 was approved for Ealaín (na Gaeltachta) CTR to implement a comprehensive arts programme in the Gaeltacht including services and grant schemes, which support the development of arts organisations and individual artists.

The total allocated for administration grants for community development organisations was €3.8m, up by almost €500,000 on last year.

This goes to 33 community organisations to help implement community development programmes, which support the aims of the the Údarás na Gaeltachta 2021-2025 Strategy.

“They play a vital role in the implementation of language plans in their various areas as well as supporting the development of the gteic network, promoting tourism and cultural projects and investigating opportunities for renewable energy initiatives, among other projects,” a spokesperson said.

Around €753,000 was approved for schemes which promote community, language, and tourism development. This includes €250,000, an increase of €85,000 for events and language support activities which aim to preserve, promote and develop the Irish language throughout the Gaeltacht.

A provision of €70,000 was approved as a gteic network support fund to help develop digital networks.

Some €250,000 has been approved to support the Community Development Unit of Údarás in relation to its Gaeltacht Social Enterprise Programme and mentoring process.

Gaeltacht Ghlas, focused environmental, linguistic, community, and employment sustainability was allocated €90,000.

Údarás na Gaeltachta Chief Executive, Tomás Ó Síocháin, thanked the outgoing board and chairperson, Anna Ní Ghallachair.

He said the budget announcement highlighted the ‘crucial role’ of the organisation in the everyday life of the Gaeltacht.

“Community development, of which the nurturing of the Irish language is an integral part, is at the heart of our work,” he said.

Ms Ní Ghallachair said it was a privilege and an honour to have been chairperson of an organisation “which played such an influential and important role in the life of the Gaeltacht community and in the perpetuation of the Irish language”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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