In January of this year, Foras na Gaeilge announced the six organisations chosen to partake in their new funding model. As Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge, the organisation who runs Gaelport.com along with many other projects, was unsuccessful in its efforts to secure a place among the six lead organisations, there remained no option for the Board of An Chomhdháil but to cease the employment of its six staff members in light of its core-funding being completely cut.
Since the decision was announced in January 2014, discussions have taken place with other parties in an effort to transfer the projects currently provided by An Chomhdháil. While some progress has been made in this regard, discussions have been hampered by the fact that lead organisations are as yet unsure of the resources which will be allocated to them after 30 June 2014.
As part of the change management process, the Board of An Chomhdháil have decided to conclude all current projects at Easter, in order to focus on the many practical and legal issues involved in an orderly wind-down, and to ensure all documentation, some of which dates back as far as 1943, is correctly archived.
While talks pertaining to the transfer of the digital services currently provided by An Chomhdháil took place with Conradh na Gaeilge, Conradh indicated at the beginning of April that they would not have sufficient skill or resources on their current team to man the services and therefore it was with regret that they decided not to express further interest in Gaelport.com.
On this site last week, we informed our readers that the updating of the site would conclude at Easter, a fact which had already been communicated with Foras na Gaeilge.
In response to the article on Gaelport.com last week, Foras na Gaeilge issued a press release stating that Gaelport.com was a valuable service and a useful tool, and that the continuation of this service in the future was important. This was an entirely different stance to what had been previously communicated by Foras to Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge.
In meetings with Foras na Gaeilge on 05 March 2014, it was clearly communicated to Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge that a decision had been made by the Newspaper and Magazine Committee, which had been approved by the Board of Foras na Gaeilge, that Foras would no longer be willing to support Gaelport.com whether it was Comhdháil or Conradh at the helm. Evidence of this decision, or minutes of the meeting where it was taken were requested, but this request was denied. The very next day, 06 March 2014, a press release was issued by Foras na Gaeilge stating that funding for Gaelport.com would cease on 30 June 2014.
The same afternoon last week that Foras na Gaeilge issued their press release in relation to Gaelport.com, the General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge wrote to An Chomhdháil to inform us that he had new information from Foras na Gaeilge to suggest that funding would be available for Conradh for a new multimedia platform, and therefore that he wished to retract the earlier correspondence on this topic and restart the conversation in relation to the transfer of Gaelport.com.
Gaelport.com is hugely successful, with over 1,000,000 hits a year, 7,000 subscribers to its ezines, and a display cabinet overloaded with silverware for national prizes won.
For the team who have worked behind the scenes on Gaelport.com for many years, the most important thing for us is that the service continue, however we must be realistic – When we return to work after the Easter break, we will have 49 working days left. There is 70 years of history in our head office between documents, research and minutes which date back to 1943.
On 30 June 2014, we will be turning the key in Number 46 Kildare Street for the last time. Important documents must be filed and archived, computers must be cleaned, furniture sold, contracts with suppliers broken and legal issues addressed. These tasks are incredibly time consuming, and staff still have annual leave left to take. This is why we wanted to have these talks with Foras and Conradh last January. We have been proactive and positive in our approach to managing this colossal change for our organisation. Last week’s press release from Foras na Gaeilge is a complete U-turn from what was communicated to us in prior meetings and correspondence. We have requested an urgent meeting with Foras na Gaeilge, but have not received an answer to our correspondence.
Complex projects such as Gaelport.com cannot be transferred overnight. It is not simply a case of handing over a password. Legal questions such as the transfer of subscriber databases need addressing, as well as issues relating to domain registration, hosting and staff training. This all takes time, and for us who are facing redundancy on 30 June 2014, our time is running out.
Despite what has been put forward in media interviews and in their press release last week by Foras na Gaeilge, the future of Gaelport.com remains highly uncertain. We promise our readers that we will do all within our power to reopen discussions with Foras na Gaeilge and with Conradh na Gaeilge between now and 30 June 2014 to ensure the service is continued. We do not want the work undertaken to date to go to waste.
We greatly appreciate the support, the input and the feedback from you, our readers, since Gaelport.com was founded in 1995.
Ag guí gach sonas oraibh,
Kevin, Peig, Brígíd, Máire, Clár agus Ferdia.
After Easter 2014, Gaelport.com will no longer be updated. The site will remain live until 30 June 2014, at which point the site itself, its five news streams, and its archive of thousands of articles will no longer be accessible. All employees of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge will be made redundant by 30 June 2014.
©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com 15 Aibreán 2014