Thomas Pringle TD

PQ: Budget cuts to Island & Gaeltacht communities


NO. 47

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason a €6 million cut was carried out in Budget 2017 to islands and gaeltacht communities taking into account the threat these communities are already facing to their survival particularly in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Thomas Pringle.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 20th October, 2016.

Ref No: 31035/16 Lottery: 46 Proof: 45


An additional allocation of €2.25m in total was provided in Budget 2017 for the Irish Language, Gaeltacht and Islands Programme.
With regard to Údarás na Gaeltachta, an additional €1m in once-off capital funding had been secured as part of the 2016 Revised Estimates. This has been retained for next year, which means that €6.687m is the new capital baseline in Budget 2017 for Údarás na Gaeltachta – an increase of €1m on the baseline in Budget 2016. In addition, I have secured an additional allocation of €2.4m for Údarás for capital projects in 2016. I will continue to seek additional capital resources for Údarás over the coming period.
With regard to current funding, the additional amount of €1 .5m provided in Budget 2017 for the Irish language and the Gaeltacht will enable my Department to allocate extra resources to t he implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language, the language planning process, Gaeltacht support schemes such as the Irish Language Colleges and Gaeltacht community groups funded by Údarás na Gaeltachta .
The Budget Estimates for 2017 , which were published recently by my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform , contain an allocation of €46.736m in total for programme expenditure on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands. This compares to a budget of €51.21 million for 2016. The reduction is mainly attributable to a reduction in the capital allocation in 2017. There was a €6 million allocation in 2016 for development works on Inis Oírr pier – which were not ready to proceed this year – and a sum of €2 million is being provided for 2017. I am satisfied this will be sufficient to advance the development in 2017 and, of course, a further allocation will be made to the project in 2018. In addition, the 2016 Estimates included an allocation of €1.9 million for Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh in Ros Muc. This project will be completed this year and will not require a financial allocation in 2017.

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