Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív has expressed his deep concern at the Government’s ongoing attempts to force its controversial Gaeltacht Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas without allowing sufficient time for debate.
The Bill was guillotined in the Seanad last week with just 10% of the proposed amendments debated. Now it has been confirmed that the Bill will go to second stage in the Dáil this week, with committee and remaining stages to be rushed through next week before the summer recess.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “It is quite clear that the Government is trying to force this controversial piece of legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas without allowing enough time for public scrutiny and debate.
“The Gaeltacht Bill as it stands is fundamentally flawed and is in desperate need of amendment. I believe that the Bill as it stands is not in accordance with the ambitious programme laid out in the 20 Year Strategy. It places the responsibility for language planning on community organisations instead of the State and makes no provision for resources to meet this.
“In addition to this, the Bill spells an end of the democratic elections to the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta, giving powers to the Gaeltacht Minister to appoint many of the board members himself. The remainder of the board will be nominated by County Councillors, many of whom have no connection with the Gaeltacht whatsoever.
“I am calling on the Gaeltacht Minister Dinny McGinley to take second stage in the Dáil in the next two weeks and allow for the committee stages to be taken over the summer so that all major amendments can be considered. It is unacceptable that just 16 of the 160 amendments were debated in the Seanad last week.
“This Government has a record of pushing through unpopular legislation without proper debate. Voters whose lives will be impacted by such legislation deserve better.”