The Government is completely disregarding the significant concerns of Gaeltacht communities, in rushing a highly deficient Gaeltacht Bill though the Oireachtas, according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.
The Galway West Senator was speaking following the Government’s imposition of a guillotine on debate at committee stage, despite the Seanad having only dealt with 16 out of some 160 amendments to the Bill.
“The Government decision this evening to impose a guillotine on the debate with so many amendments yet to be debated was shameful. I believe it reflects badly on the Government’s ability to deal with constructive debate as well as its attitude towards democracy.
“There is a great deal of concern among many quarters at what is contained in the Bill, not just among political parties, but also among Irish language organisations, and within Gaeltacht communities. A great many of these amendments related to particular concerns that were held by those in Gaeltacht communities and indeed many were developed in cooperation with Irish Language groups.
“There is no doubt that these were constructive and realistic amendments that could have addressed deficiencies in the Legislation. Yet Minister McGinley not only refused to accept any opposition amendment which was debated, the Government refused to have any of the remaining amendments debated.
“I believe that this reflects a deep seated disregard for the Irish Language and Gaeltacht communities, refusing to take on board their concerns and rushing through legislation which will have a significant impact on the future of Gaeltachtaí and of the Language.
“I am calling on the Government to postpone debate on this Bill to allow for full consultation with the Gaeltacht and Irish Language Communities.”