Full appraisal of Irish language programmes needed before any progress can be made

30 April 2010

While I am broadly supportive of the measures designed to revitalise the Irish language contained in the 20 Year Strategy, I believe that before any real progress can be made in this regard, we need to fully evaluate all the programmes that are already in place.

If we are to deliver on the objectives of the strategy, we really need to know where we are and what our starting point is.

There is no clarity as to how much money from the public purse is actually channelled to Irish language related projects and programmes, but I have no doubt that the sum is well in excess of half a billion.

It is not unreasonable to ask precisely what that money is being spent on, and whether the taxpayer is getting value for money. We need to establish what programmes are in receipt of public money; what their objectives are; the extent to which those objectives are being met, and whether their objectives are in line with those of the 20 Year Strategy.

It may be the case that some of these programmes are working better than others, and if that is the case, funds should be reallocated on the basis of what would deliver the best overall outcome.

If we are realistically seeking to achieve the objective of 250,000 people using the language on a daily or active basis in 20 years, we need significant changes. We have to be prepared to make difficult decisions, because in many instances, current policies are simply not delivering.

I have put a question to Minister Carey in this regard, and look forward to his reply.

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