Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne has declared "ensuring the continuation of Irish as the living language of the communities in the Gaeltacht" as his priority as Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources.
Dep Kyne was recently appointed Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources. He had been widely tipped for a junior ministry following the establishment of the Fine Gael-Independent Alliance Government, and the facilitation deal with Fianna Fáil. His ministry spans the Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, and the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources.
Speaking about his plans for the Irish language, Minister Kyne said he will focus on education and employment in order to strengthen the use of Gaeilge.
"Immersion in Irish in the early years of primary schooling is very important," he said. "Gaeilge needs to be given complete priority in the infant classes of primary school, and the unique needs of Gaeltacht schools need to be acknowledged if we are to combat the increasing prevalence of English."
He said regarding employment that Údarás na Gaeltachta needs to be further resourced to continue "its crucial and positive record" of job creation.
The Moycullen based minister said he would also work on the implementation of the Twenty Year Strategy on the Irish Language, in particular, focusing on ways to increase "the use and visibility" of Gaeilge across the country. "Initiatives, such as the designation of Galway as a bilingual city, are important and exciting developments for the language which present new opportunities," he said.
Minister Kyne also has responsibility for the Islands and said he would work to "ensure the sustainability of our island communities which includes transport issues".
The Natural Resources section of the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources involves the management and development of resources including inland fisheries, mining and exploration and geological surveys. Minister Kyne will meet this week with officials from the Department on current and planned activities.