Fine Gael TD for Galway West & Mayo South

Statement on my appointment at Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs & Natural Resources

I am honoured to have been appointed Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources which spans the Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources.

As such I have responsibility for the Gaeltacht but also the Irish language. Ensuring the continuation of Irish as the living language of the communities in the Gaeltacht is a priority which involves a number of areas such as education and employment. 

In education, the principle of immersion in Irish in the early years of primary schooling is very important. Gaeilge needs to be given complete priority in the infant classes of primary school, and the unique needs of Gaeltacht schools need to be acknowledged if we are to combat the increasing prevalence of English. 

In terms of employment Údarás na Gaeltachta needs to be further resourced to continue its crucial and positive record of job creation. 

As Minister I also have responsibility for the Islands and I will be working to ensure the sustainability of our island communities which includes transport issues. 

In addition to the Gaeltacht and the islands, the promotion of An Ghaeilge is a key responsibility and I will be working on the implementation of the Twenty Year Strategy on the Irish Language, and in particular ways to increase the use and visibility of our first official language across the country. Initiatives, such as the recent designation of Galway as a bilingual city, are important and exciting developments for the language which present new opportunities. 

The Natural Resources section of the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources involves the management and development of resources including inland fisheries, mining and exploration and geological surveys. I will be meeting this week with officials from the Department on current and planned activities.

Is onóir dom a bheith ceaptha Aire Stáit do Ghnóthaí Gaeltachta agus Achainní Nádúrtha.

Beidh freagracht orm don Ghaeltacht ach freisin don Ghaeilge. Is cuid do mo thosaíocht ná cinntiú go leanfar leis an nGaeilge mar theanga bheo na bpobal ag thógáil san áireamh réimsí cosúil le hoideachas agus fostaíocht.

San oideachas, beidh prionsabal an tumoideachais sa Ghaeilge sna luathbhlianta na bunscolaíochta tábhachtach. Ní mór tús áite a thabhairt do Ghaeilge i ranganna na naíonán sa bhunscoil agus is gá aitheantas a thabhairt do na riachtanais ar leith atá ag scoileanna na Gaeltachta má táimid chun dul i ngleic le forleithne an Bhéarla.

Ó thaobh na fostaíochta, teastaíonn tuilleadh acmhainní ón Údarás chun leanúint lena taifead dearfach ag cruthú jabanna.

Mar Aire, tá freagrach orm freisin do na hOileáin agus beidh mé ag obair chun a chinntiú inbhuanaitheacht pobal na hOileáin, ag tógáil san áireamh ceisteanna iompair.

Chomh maith leis an Ghaeltacht agus na hOileáin, is é cur chun cinn An Ghaeilge an príomhfhreagracht atá agam agus beidh mé ag obair chun an Straitéise Fiche Bliain don Ghaeilge a chuir i bhfeidhm agus go hairithe na bealaí ar leith chun cur le húsáid agus infheictheacht ár gcéad teanga oifigiúil ar fud na tíre. Tá tionscnaimh ar nós an ainmniú le déanaí do Ghaillimhe mar chathair dhátheangach tábhachtach do fhorbairtí agus spreagúil an teanga a chuireann deiseanna nua ar fáil.

Sa rannóg Acmhainní Nádúrtha na Roinne Cumarsáide, Athrú Aeráide agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha, beidh bhainistiú agus forbairt ar na n-acmhainní san áireamh iascaigh intíre, mianadóireacht, taiscéalaíocht agus suirbhéanna geolaíocha. Beidh mé ag bualadh le hoifigigh ón Roinn an tseachtain seo ar ghníomhaíochtaí reatha.

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