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Minister Campbell must work on behalf of Foras na Gaeilge – McElduff

3 February, 2009 - by Barry McElduff

Chair of the Assembly's Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee Barry McElduff was speaking following an update from the last North South Ministerial Council Sectoral meeting given at the Assembly this morning. Gregory Campbell was unable to deliver the update due to illness.

Speaking on the matter Mr McElduff said,

"When Foras na Gaeilge was established 10 years ago there was to be an agreed staff complement of 65; yet today staff numbers are only at 43. I would ask the Minister what steps are being taken to rectify this issue, which ultimately is hampering Foras' ability to carry out its stated remit.

"The accounts covered today and those dealt with at the last NSMC were from 2004. The delay in the publication of Foras' accounts is due to a backlog caused by historic difficulties within the Ulster Scots Agency. This delay is unfair and is restricting a swifter publication of Foras na Gaeilge's books. Surely it would make sense for the two sets of accounts of both organisations to be separated and allow each organisation to work freely.

"As well as all of this, a very real difficulty for Foras is the disparity in pay between the Six Counties and the Twenty Six Counties. What steps can the Minister take to alleviate the severe difficulties being caused to Foras' employees by the pay disparity between each system which essentially sees employees of the same organisation being paid at different rates?

"The Minister has an obligation to work for the advancement and improvement, where necessary, of Foras na Gaeilge." CRÍOCH

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