Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader and TD for Mayo Dara Calleary says a new Bill published by his party will restore the democratic mandate of Gaeltacht residents by reinstating direct elections to the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta. The Údarás na Gaeltachta (Amendment ) Bill 2018 was recently approved by the party front bench.
Deputy Calleary said: “This Bill seeks to overturn the undemocratic decision taken by Fine Gael in 2012, when it abolished direct elections to Údarás na Gaeltachta. This move effectively removed the election of the board from people living in Gaeltacht areas, and gives the Minister of the day the power to appoint seven out of the 12 board members. This is deeply unfair and undemocratic.
“People living in the Gaeltacht should be given back the power to choose who best represents them on the board of Údarás. Under our bill, Údarás will consist of a chairperson who shall be appointed by the Minister and 14 other members; 11 shall be directly elected, including one member from Mayo.
"The other three members shall be appointed by the Minister; one of whom must be resident on an offshore island that is in the Gaeltacht. Údarás plays a key role in the Mayo Gaeltacht and in other Gaeltacht areas across the country.
"Not only does it promote the Irish language, it engages in initiatives which support local employment. It is one of the main drivers of economic and infrastructural development and its client companies employ more than 7,000 people throughout the various Gaeltacht areas.
“This Bill will restore the democratic mandate to people living in the Gaeltacht to elect their own representatives to the board. This is an important move and I hope that other parties in the Oireachtas will support it.”