Written Answers - Irish Language.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 676 No. 5

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  64.  Deputy Michael D. Higgins  Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins   asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs  Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív   when the plan from the Government committee for the conservation of the Irish language will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8972/09]

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív): Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Work is under way at present on the development of a 20-year Strategy for Irish. The work builds on the Government’s Policy Statement on Irish published in December 2006.

During the course of last year, my Department, with assistance from Fiontar DCU, who were engaged as independent consultants to assist with development of the Strategy, undertook a wide-ranging public consultation process on the key issues to be addressed by the Strategy. The consultation process included a series of public meetings and an on-line survey. My Department subsequently published a discussion document based on suggestions and feedback from the public during the consultation process. The discussion document, which addressed the various elements considered as relevant for the Strategy, was presented at a further series of public meetings to give the public an additional opportunity to express views and make recommendations in relation to the proposed Strategy.

In addition to the public consultation process, Fiontar DCU consulted with the key stakeholders — both in the public and voluntary sectors — in relation to their specific recommendations for the Strategy and convened a group of international experts with expertise on language policy issues to advise on the process.

A document has been submitted to me and is being examined. As the Deputy will be aware, a Cabinet Committee has been established to examine issues in relation to the Gaeltacht and the Irish language. I anticipate that the draft Strategy will be presented to the Committee before being submitted to Government. The intention is that an integrated strategy for the Irish language will be agreed and published in due course, when the current process of deliberation is completed.

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