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Government refusing to listen to valid concerns regarding Gaeltacht Bill - Ó Clochartaigh

11 July, 2012

The Government is putting its head in the sand regarding the deeply flawed Gaeltacht Bill, according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

The Galway West Senator has said that the Government is completely refusing to take on board any of the concerns of the public and of Irish language organisations.  

“The opposition and the Irish Language Sector has played an extremely constructive role in debating this bill, and some 160 amendments at committee stage identified flaws in the bill, but also offered realistic solutions", according to Ó Clochartaigh.

“However the stubbornness of the Government and particularly of Minister of State McGinley's attitude is unacceptable. They seem content to stick their heads firmly in the sand and disregard all the flaws which are manifested in the bill.

“It is extremely regrettable that the Government has rejected any role for the Language Commissioner in the policing of the various language plans envisaged, despite the fact that the office of the Coimisinéir Teanga is widely acknowledged as being the most effective and appropriate office for such functions.

“The totally misguided approach in the bill to language planning, which places the bulk of the responsibility for the plans on small voluntary groups remains in place in the current draft. There is also ambiguity regarding the definition of Gaeltacht and of language planning areas.

“In addition, despite being challenged on the matter several times by different Senators, the Government has refused to admit that extra resources will need to be made available for the implementation of this legislation, given the significantly increased responsibilities of both Údarás na Gaeltachta and other local organisations.

“The Government has yet to accept a single opposition amendment and has rushed the legislation through the Seanad with 105 amendments not being debated due to a lack of time. This is totally unacceptable, but I fear that we will see much of the same attitude during its passage through the Dáil.”

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