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Is ionsaí ar an daonlathas í an Bhille Gaeltachta – Ó Clochartaigh

20 June, 2012


Is mór an dochar a dhéanfaidh sé deireadh a chur le toghadh bhord Údarás na Gaeltachta do neamhspleáchas agus cuntasacht na heagraíochta sin, dar le Seanadóir Shinn Féin, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Bhí an Seanadóir as Gaillimh Thiar ag labhairt tar éis foilsiú Bille na Gaeltachta 2012, a dhéanann athchóiriú ar struchtúr & feidhmiú an Údaráis agus a rialóidh straitéisí pleanála teanga sa nGaeltacht agus in gceantair eile den tír.

“Is masla amach is amach é agus céim mhór ar gcúl do phobal na Gaeltachta, deireadh a bheith dhá chur le toghadh Bhord an Údaráis. De réir an Bhille, beidh seachtar den bhord ceaptha ag an Aire, agus ainmneoidh Comhairlí Chontae, a bhfuil limistéir Gaeltachta faoina gcúram, cúigear eile. Ach, is léir ón méid sin go mbeidh an bord - agus an Údarás - go huile is go hiomlán faoi smacht an Aire as seo amach.

“Tá feidhm i bhfad níos tábhachtaí ag an Údarás ná díreach mar eagraíocht teanga. Is eagraíocht í atá freagrach as forbairt eacnamúil, sóisialta agus cultúrtha na Gaeltachta. Tá ionadaíocht poiblí lárnach dó sin agus tá toghcháin poiblí ag teastáil le go bhfeidhmeodh an tÚdarás mar ba chóir agus go mbeadh cuntasacht daonlathach ag baint léi. Laghdaíonn an Bhille seo an tionchar gur féidir leis an bpobal a bheith acu ar fheidhmiú an Údaráis agus inár dtuairim tá sé sin díobhálach do phobal na Gaeltachta.

“Beidh Sinn Féin ag iarraidh an Bhille seo a leasú chun na toghcháin don Bhoird a choinneáil. Táimid chun moladh go ndéanfar é a leasú freisin chun na Coistí Réigiúnacha, a bhfuil deireadh á chur leo sa bhille seo chomh maith, a choinneáil.

“Is maith an rud é go mbeidh bunús reachtúil faoin bpróiséas pleanála teanga agus táimid den dtuairim go bhféadfadh an catagóir nua do Lionraí Gaeilge a bheith dearfach i gceantair taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht agus i bpobail uirbeacha. É sin ráite, tá imní mhór orainn faoin méid cumhachta atá ag an Aire ó thaobh forghníomhú na bhforálacha seo.

“Is fiú tagairt do na ciorraithe i maoiniú an Údaráis le blianta beaga anuas agus ar an mbúnús sin tá ceisteanna móra ann maidir le acmhainní cuí a bheith ar fáil don Údarás agus na heagrais forbartha pobail a fhaigheann maoiniú uaithi don meádú breise a thiocfaidh ar a gcuid dualgais ó thaobh pleanáil teanga agus fiontraíochta de.

“In ainneoin na gnéithe dearfacha den bhille seo, ní féidir le Sinn Féin tacú leis an reachtaíocht mar atá sé faoi láthair, mar go bhfuil sé riachtanach, dar linn, go mbeadh cuntasacht daonlathach ann don Údarás.”

Críoch

Gaeltacht Bill respresents an attack on democracy – Ó Clochartaigh

The abolition of elections to Údarás na Gaeltachta undermines the independence of the body and removes the democratic accountability of the Údarás, according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

The Galway West Senator was speaking following the publication of the Gaeltacht Bill 2012, which reforms the operation of the Údarás and regulates language planning in Gaeltacht areas and elsewhere.

“The abolition of direct elections to the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta is a thoroughly retrograde step, and a slap in the face for Gaeltacht communities. The proposed new composition of the Board, which would have seven ministerial appointees as well as five nominated by local authorities, clearly puts the board, and by extension, the Údarás itself, under the Minister's thumb.

“The role of the Údarás is not merely to act as a language development body, it is for the economic, social and cultural advancement of the Gaeltacht areas. Public representation is a key part of that. For the Údarás to function properly and in order for it to be democratically accountable there needs to be direct elections. This bill significantly reduces the input of local people into the functioning of the Údarás and in our view, that is to the detriment of these communities.

“Sinn Féin will be tabling amendments with the aim of retaining direct elections to the board and we will also be seeking the retention of the statutory regional committees, which the Bill also abolishes.

“Sinn Féin is encouraged to see language planning measures in local areas put on a statutory basis and we think that the introduction of a new category of Irish Language Networks has the potential to foster Irish language communities outside traditional Gaeltachtaí and in urban areas. However, we are concerned at the level of power vested in the Minister in this bill, to police these policies.

“We would note that Údarás’ funding has seen numerous reductions in recent years and consequently Sinn Féin is concerned that the Údarás is not adequately resourced to respond to the increase in its workload and that of the community development organisations it funds, with regard to the broader language planning and enterprise functions it will have.

“In spite of the positive elements in the Bill, Sinn Féin simply cannot support this legislation as currently drafted as we are of the view that the Údarás should be democratically accountable.”

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