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Opposition walks out in protest at guillotining of debate on Gaeltacht Bill

Opposition walks out in protest at guillotining of debate on Gaeltacht Bill

The entire Opposition walked out of the Dáil yesterday in protest at the guillotining of debate on the controversial Gaeltacht Bill.

Committee stage debate on the legislation was scheduled to take three hours but Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Independents and members of the technical group left in protest and the Bill was passed without a vote.

The Opposition criticised the Government’s failure to accept any of its 150 amendments on the Bill, which must be passed by the end of September to avoid another election to the local authority responsible for Gaeltacht areas, Údarás na Gaeltachta.

The Bill abolishes elections to the Údarás and reduces its membership from 20 to 12. It also gives the Minister for the Gaeltacht power to appoint seven members, a majority, to the board.

Each of t he f our large Gaeltachts, Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Donegal, will have one county council representative on the board, while the three smaller Gaeltachts of Cork, Waterford and Meath will have to share membership on a rotating two-year basis.

The legislation also changes the way employment schemes are funded and provides for language plans to be developed for each of 19 Irish-speaking areas.

A total of 34 Opposition TDs were in the Chamber and walked out as committee stage of the Bill commenced. Just seven Government TDs, all Fine Gael, were in the Chamber. Members of Irish language and culture organisation Conradh na Gaeilge, who were in the public gallery, left at the same time as the Opposition.

Before they walked out, Fianna Fáil’s Eamon Ó Cuív said it was a “huge piece of legislation” which “has no support from any of the language organisations”. The Minister should “stand back from the edge of the cliff” and put back committee stage.

Sinn Féin Gaeltacht spokesman Peadar Tóibín said the Government’s approach was disrespectful and they would leave the Dáil to express their “disgust”.
Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins appealed for more time for debate to “put an end to the degradation of the language”.

The Opposition walked out before Minister for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley could reply, and the legislation passed within 15 minutes.

In a 30-minute speech afterwards Mr McGinley said that during the the Dáil debate on the Bill last week Government TDs had to keep the debate going because there were not enough Opposition speakers.

He did not want to accuse people of “hypocrisy because it’s a big word” but he questioned the democratic commitment of the Opposition when they walked out rather than debate the Bill.

The Minister, a native Irish speaker f rom t he Donegal Gaeltacht, said urgent action had to be taken now to save the language because while there are 97,000 people living in Gaeltacht areas just one in four speaks Irish on a daily basis.

Referring to the remarks about standing back from the cliff edge, he said “we’re at the precipice” for the language. He insisted the Bill would give ordinary people “for the first time a say in their own linguistic future”.
Foilsithe ar 20 Iúil 2012 / Foilsithe ar - 20 Iúil 2012

Seans go mbeidh spéis agat sna scéalta a leanas:

As na Nuachtáin:‘Lagmhisneach’
An Nuacht is Déanaí: Deis caillte don Ghaeltacht le hachtú Acht na Gaeltachta 2012
As na Nuachtáin: Ligigí a ceann leis an Ghaeltacht – mura bhfuil sé rómhall

Lean an scéal seo agus @Gaelport ar Twitter: #Gaeilge #Gaeltacht #Bille

The Irish Times - Marie O'Halloran

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