Meath Fianna Fail Senator Thomas Byrne has said he is deeply disappointed by the contents of the Gaeltacht Bill 2012, which was published this week and is currently being rushed through the Oireachtas by the Government.
Senator Byrne said, “While at first glance much of this is based on the previous Government’s 20 year strategy on the Irish language, the Bill itself is very weak on detail and delivery. Instead of investing further in preserving and developing the language, this Bill involves further cutbacks.
“My greatest concern is that the proposed legislation takes power from the people and provides too much control to the Minister of the day. It spells an end of the right of the Meath Gaeltacht resident to democratically elect their representative to the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta. Instead, Gaeltacht Minister Jimmy Deenihan proposes that he will nominate the board while the remainder are nominated by County Councillors, most of whom have no connection with the Gaeltacht whatsoever. In Meath’s case, the representative will be shared with the Waterford and Cork Gaeltachtai appointed jointly by those County Councils, leaving the possibility that Waterford and Cork could operate to exclude a Meath representative.
“It is clear that Minister Deenihan does not have confidence in the people to elect who they want to run Údarás na Gaeltachtas. As Fine Gael belongs to the majority group on Meath County Council, I am concerned about the level of control the Minister will have over the process to exclusion of residents.” concluded Senator Byrne.