“Another hammer blow to Gaeltacht and Irish speaking communities” is how a Connemara politician has described Budget 2014.
Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has criticised the Budget, announced on Tuesday, as FG and Labour “following the cuts to the Gaeltacht pioneered by Fianna Fáil” and “another example of the lack of respect the Government has for the Irish language and those who speak it”.
Sen Ó Clochartaigh said the decision to cut, yet again, employment funding to Údarás na Gaeltachta makes no sense when the Government is claiming job creation as a priority.
In the last few years the funding available to the Údarás to create jobs has been cut from €26 million to €5.8 million this year. According to a recent Indecon report the organisation would need €12 million to retain the level of jobs in the Gaeltacht at present, not to mention creating new ones.
There will also be cuts to the Irish language and Gaeltacht structures, schemes and organisations as well as €2.1 million from the North South Co-operation Implementation bodies.
Sen Ó Clochartaigh did welcome, however, that half a million euro has been put aside to support the Twenty Year Strategy for the Irish Language.