Members of the Irish-speaking community from Leitrim met with their local representatives this week to voice their concerns around Irish language and Gaeltacht funding as Clinic Na Gaeilge came to Kildare Street in Dublin.
The ten-hour mobile clinic at Buswells Hotel saw Sorcha Nic Conmara from Aghamore, Carrick-On-Shannon and others sit down with local representative Tony McLoughln TD to ask for their support for an Irish Language and Gaeltacht Investment Plan which could create over 1,150 new jobs.
Local representatives from 27 constituencies across Ireland travelled to the capital to meet 83 TDs, Senators and representatives in a bid to secure funding of €5.3 million for the plan in Budget 2018.
“Clinic na Gaeilge brings the voice of the Irish-speaking community to the seat of power, where they can air the local issues that matter to them most,” said Sorcha.
“It was good to sit down as Gaeilge with Tony and encourage him to make investment in the Irish language and in the Gaeltacht a priority for the Government in Budget 2018."
Dr Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said that the Irish Language and Gaeltacht Investment Plan has been agreed by 87 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups, and would create over 1,150 new jobs.
“It will also provide essential resources towards the language planning process, and afford the public many opportunities across the country to use Irish,” said Dr Comer.
“Irish language and Gaeltacht employment authorities have seen their resources slashed by up to 70% since 2007.
“It is time to honour the Programme for Government and invest in our Gaeltachts and in our language.”
The event was held as part of Conradh na Gaeilge’s #SEAS17 (seisiúin eolais agus spreagtha) pre-budget campaign, which involves information and progress sessions on Irish language and Gaeltacht affairs.
“As well as the representatives of many constituencies who are joining us today, other Irish speakers have been phoning their local politicians, calling into their local drop-in clinics, and sending personal emails or tweets,” said Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge.
“Like Clinic na Gaeilge, this is all tremendously enormously important work before the Budget is decided.
“We are stronger as a community when we work together on these core issues - ní neart go cur le chéile.”
Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Joe McHugh TD, also launched a report by Comhlachas na gComharchumann Gaeltachta and Comhlachtaí Pobalbhunaithe in Buswells Hotel.
Conradh na Gaeilge and their local representatives are calling on the Government and on the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, to allocate €5.3 million in funding to the Irish Language and Gaeltacht Investment Plan, as agreed by 87 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups, in Budget 2018.