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Transfer of Powers to Údarás

Transfer of Powers to Údarás

The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív T.D. announced in the Dáil last Wednesday that effectively the powers of Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltacht were to be transferred to Údarás na Gaeltachta. This decision was discussed at a meeting attended by members of the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta and Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta on the 24th of April.

Speaking about the meeting in the Dáil last Wednesday, 29 April the Minister stated that he was of the opinion that the Gaeltacht needs a single strong statutory authority that would run a wide range of projects.

Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta is a voluntary organisation which was founded in 1991 to implement the LEADER programme in Gaeltacht regions. In recent years the organisation has responded to the need of individual communities by organising other programmes.

The Minister stated in the Dáil that Údarás na Gaeltachta would be responsible for the administration of community employment schemes and community schemes in Gaeltacht areas in the coming years and the remit of the voluntary organisation would be reduced.

Of course the danger is that people working for Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta could lose their jobs as a result of the changes.  This point was raised by the T.D Dinny McGinley in the same debate. ‘Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta is a voluntary organisation. The community founded  the organisation on a voluntary basis. Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta has years of experience in handling these schemes. It is difficult  to let these people who have years of experience and who have provided such services to lose their jobs’.

The Minister also announced that a new Bill would be published, outlining the new powers and structure and it would be published in the context of the recommendations of the Linguistic Study on the use of Irish in the Gaeltacht and the work of the cabinet committee for Irish and the Gaeltacht.

The Minister also revealed that elections for Údarás na Gaeltachta will take place at the end of the statutory period, which means they will be held before October of next year and that the 20 Year plan for Irish should be published before then also.

Minister Ó Cuív stated ”Since the 20 year plan  will contain recommendations regarding  changes in legislation and that legislative change will affect the Údarás and which will also change the definition of the Gaeltacht and I have said this new definition will be based on  linguistic criterion, I would imagine that the current elected officials of Údarás na Gaeltachta will stay in power until Autumn next year, so as to use the five and half year period provided for in the legislation as this will provide a period of time for whatever  legislative changes are necessary  under the 20 year plan to be enacted’

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