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Buaileann ionadaithe pobalbhunaithe le hAire RCEF maidir le ‘Scéim Mhaoinithe Riachtanach’Community-based language representatives meet DCAL Minister in relation to ‘Vital Funding Scheme’

Buaileann ionadaithe pobalbhunaithe le hAire RCEF maidir le ‘Scéim Mhaoinithe Riachtanach’
Bhuail toscaireacht ionadaithe ar son ghrúpaí Gaeilge áitiúla i dtuaisceart na hÉireann le hAire RCEF Caral Ní Chuilín inniu chun buarthaí a chur in iúl faoi na moltaí nua atá Foras na Gaeilge ag tarraingt anuas trí chomhairliúchán maidir le Scéim Phobal Ghaeilge.
20141110_145914- pic ón chruinniú le CaralMolann an comhairliúchan athrú ó mhaoiniú a thabhairt do ghrúpaí teanga bunaithe ar éileamh agus ar thoilleadh chun ‘raon cothrom geagrafach’ acmhainní a chinntiú. Meastar go bhfuil an bhunscéim barrthábhachtach leis an phobal Gaeilge sa Tuaisceart a chothú, in éagmais creatlaí reachtaíochta. Is é an Tuaisceart an t-aon réigiún amháin ar na hoileáin seo gan reachtaíocht ar bith lena theanga dhúchais a chur chun cinn. Bhí an chéad scéim mhaoinithe an-rathúil maidir le tacaíocht a thabhairt do na pobail Gaeilge atá ag dul i méid agus thacaigh sí le mogalra láidir grúpaí pobail beoga agus torthúla i roinnt ceantar is mó díothaí sa Tuaisceart. Tá 19 grúpa á maoiniú faoin scéim seo ar fud an oileáin agus tá 11 díobh seo lonnaithe sa Tuaisceart. In áit an maoiniu a dháileadh ar bhonn éilimh, molann Foras na Gaeilge go gcuifear teorainn ar an líon oifigeach teanga go hoifigeach amháin nó dhó an Contae. Is é an toradh ar seo go mbogtar oifigigh teanga ó cheantair a bhfuil móréileamh go ceantair nach bhfuil ach beagán gníomhaíochta nó gníomhaíocht ar bith. Má chuirfear na moltaí seo i bhfeidhm, díchobhsóidh sé mogalra an phobail Ghaeilge agus cuirfidh siad an fhorbairt i gceantair aitheanta i mbéal forbartha faoi bhagairt.
Thug an toscaireacht aighneachtaí don Aire Carál Ní Chuilín ar son na ngrúpaí go léir sa tuaisceart ag cruinniú a bhí acu léi in Stormont inniu. Ina dhiaidh dúirt Sue Pentel ó Ionad Uíbh Eachach sa Cheathrú Ghaeltachta, “Tá muid fíor bhuíoch den Aire as deis a thabhairt dúinn ár mbuarthaí fiorthromchúiseacha a chur in iúl faoi na moltaí i gcáipéis chomhairliúcháin Fhoras na Gaeilge a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aici tosaíocht a thabhairt don ‘raon tíreolaíoch’ seo i ndáileadh mhaoiniú pobail in áit é bheith bunaithe ar an éileamh agus ar riachtanais ar an talamh. Gearrfaidh na moltaí seo pionós ar ghrúpaí as bheith éifeachtach agus an-eagraithe agus bainfear maoiniú ar shiúl ó cheantair a bhfuil infrastruchtúr pobail rathúil acu agus tabharfar é do cheantair nach bhfuil riachtanas soiléir ann. Má chuirfear na moltaí seo i bhfeidhm, bainfidh siad na cosa ón phobal Gaeilge pobalbhunaithe sa Tuaisceart a bhí ag forbairt le breis an 40 bliain anuas gan mórán tacaíochta reachtúla”.
Fianaise ar an obair dhian agus ar dhiograiseacht na bpobal is ea é an borradh mór atá tagtha ar an phobal Gaeilge sa Tuaisceart. Ó bunaíodh an chéad Bhunscoil in Iarthar Bhéal Feirste in 1971, cothaíodh pobail Ghaeilge I gcuid mhór ceantar taobh amuigh de Bhéal Feirste, trí bhunú na nGaelscoileanna i dtús báire. Sa deichniúr is déanaí mar shampla, bhí fás agus forbairt iontach mór i gceantair amhail Ard Mhacha, agus i gContae Dhoire. Tá cúig phobal Gaeilge fhorásacha agus oifigeach amháin lonnaithe in An Carn i gContae Dhoire tuaithe. Thug an toscaireacht le fios go raibh géarghá le níos mó oifigeach teanga sa cheantar seo. Chomhiarr pobal Gaeilge Dhún Géimhinn agus Léim an Mhadaidh ar Fhoras na Gaeilge go gcuirfí oifigeach teanga chucu chun tacú leis na pobail fhorásacha agus leis an dá thionscadal caipitil molta seo sular chuir an Foras an scéim nua i leataobh go dtí i ndiaidh an chomhairliúcháin.
I ndiaidh an chruinnithe inniu dúirt Gearóid Ó Machail ar son an ghrúpa pobail, Cairde Teo i gcathair Ard Mhacha, ‘mhínigh muid don Aire Ní Chuilín go raibh an t-athrú aondeonach sna critéir mhaoinithe trí scrúdú ar an léarscáil náisiúnta seachas measúnú a dhéanamh ar agus tabhairt faoi chúrsaí realaíocha ar an talamh amhail an daonra, pobail na nGaelscoileanna, leibhéal na gníomhaíochta agus an éilimh i gcontrárthacht leis an taighde réasúnach agus sochtheangealaíochta agus le comheispéarasa phobail Ghaeilge sa Tuaisceart. Thug muid le fios fosta go mbainfeadh ann t-athrú molta an bonn d’fhiontar Líofa atá á chur chun cinn tríd an mhogalra atá ann faoi láthair agus go sáródh sé an dréachstraitéis don Ghaeilge i tuaisceart na hÉireann a aithníonn an gá le hinfheistiú i bhforbairt na teanga ar bhonn pobail mar a bhfuil an t-éileamh ann faoi láthair.’
Dúirt urlabhraí Chonradh na Gaeilge, Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, a dhéanann abhcóideacht ar son na ngrúpaí teanga pobalbhunaithe, ‘Is í an teachtaireacht shoiléir ó na grúpaí seo go raibh an scéim rathúil agus gur gá lena leathnú le riar ar an éileamh méadaithe. Ba chóir d’Fhoras na Gaeilge agus do RCEF díriú ar níos mó infheistíochta a fháil a bheadh riachtanach leis na mhogalra láithreach d’oifigigh teanga a chothú agus chun tacu le ceantair forbartha i ngátar soiléir.”
Maidir leis an cháipéis chomhairliúcháin dúirt an tUasal Mac Giolla Bhéin, “tá an cháipéis lochtach mar teipeann uirthi comhthéacs éagsúil forbartha teanga a aithint sa Tuaisceart i gcomórtas leis an Deisceart. Sa Tuaisceart bhí beagán tacaíochta nó tacaíocht stairiúil ar bith d’fhorbairt teanga laistigh de phobail agus dá deasca seo, d’fhás na grúpaí go horgánach ón bhun aníos agus níl thig leo dul ar iontaoibh maoinithe eile ó stát nach dtugann cosaint dhleathach dóibh. De dheasca na heaspa stádais agus na creatlaí reachtaí don phobal Gaeilge sa Tuaisceart, tá an tacaíocht leanunach don scéim seo de dhíth ar an phobal. Ba chóir dó seo tabhairt faoi agus cuidiu leis an mhogalra fhairsingíoch de phobail Ghaeilge sa Tuaisceart. Seo an teachtaireacht shoiléir atá á cur in iúl do RCEF agus d’Fhoras na Gaeilge inniu ar son na ngrúpaí pobail Gaeilge”
‘Beidh an comhairliúchán ag dul ar aghaidh go dtí 24ú Samhain agus tá an toscaireacht ar iarraidh ar gach grúpa pobail Gaeilge, duine aonair, scoil agus eagras pobail páirt a ghlacadh sa chomhairliúchán agus le tacú le forbairt leanúnach na teanga ar fun an oileáin, tríd an bhunsamhail riachtanas-bhunaithe a choinneáil agus a fhorbairt.
Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais, déan teagmháil le Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh ó Foram na nGael ag feargal@forbairtfeirste.com 07841101630 / agus/nó Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Conradh na Gaeilge ag ciaran@cnag.ie 07545293841

 

A delegation representing locally based Irish-language groups in the North of Ireland, met on Monday(10-11-14) with DCAL Minister Caral Ní Chuilín to raise concerns about new proposals being brought forward by Foras na Gaeilge by way of a consultation in respect of the ‘Irish language in the community’ funding scheme (Scéim Phobal Ghaeilge).

The consultation proposes a shift from funding language groups based on demand and capacity to ensuring ‘an even geographical spread’ of resources. The original scheme is considered vital to sustain the Irish 20141110_145914- pic ón chruinniú le Carallanguage community in the North, in the absence of a legislative framework. The North is the only region on these islands that has no legislation to protect and promote the indigenous language. The original funding scheme has been extremely successful in providing support to growing Irish language communities and underpins a strong network of vibrant and productive community groups in some of the most deprived areas of the North. There are 19 groups funded under this scheme across the island, 11of which are based in the North. Instead of allocating funding on that basis of demand, it is proposed by Foras na Gaeilge that language officers will be limited to one or two per County, resulting in language officers being moved away from areas of high demand to areas of little or no activity. The proposals, if implemented, will destabilise the Irish language community network and threaten the development in identifiable developing areas.

The delegation presented submissions to the Minister, Caral Ní Chuilín at a meeting in Stormont today after which Sue Pentel of Ionad Uibh Eachach in the Gaeltacht Quarter stated, ‘We are grateful to the Minister for giving us the opportunity to raise our very grave concerns about the proposals contained in the Foras na Gaeilge consultation document which is aiming to prioritise ‘geographical spread’ in allocating community funding instead of demand and need on the ground. These proposals will penalise groups for being effective and well-organised and redirect funding away from areas that have built a successful community infrastructure to those areas with underdeveloped capacity. If the proposals are implemented they will effectively pull the rug out from under the community-based Irish language community in the North that has been built up over 40 years with very little statutory support”.

The Irish language community has experienced significant growth in the North, a testament to the hard work and dedication of local communities. Since the first Bunscoil was established in West Belfast in 1971, the seeds of a language community have been planted in many areas outside of Belfast initially through the establishment of Irish-medium schools. Areas like Armagh and rural County Derry, for example, have experienced significant growth and development in the last decade. In rural County Derry there are now five growing Irish-medium communities and only one officer based in An Carn and the delegation pointed out that there is a pressing need for more language officers in this area. A joint application was submitted to Foras na Gaeilge in 2013 by the Dungiven and Limavady language communities for a language officer to support the growing communities and two proposed capital projects before the new scheme was shelved by the Foras pending the consultation.

Gearóid Ó Machail representing the community group, Cairde Teo in Armagh city, said after the meeting that, ‘we explained to Minister Ní Chuilin that changing the funding criteria arbitrarily by surveying a national map rather than assessing and addressing the realities on the ground such as population, Irish-medium school communities and level of activity and demand runs contrary to rational and sociolinguistic research and the collective experience of the language community in the North. We also pointed out that the proposed change would undermine the Líofa initiative which is being promoted through the existing network and would contravene the draft strategy for the Irish language in the North of Ireland, which recognises the need to invest in developing the language at community level where there is existing demand.’

Conradh na Gaeilge spokesperson, Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, who advocates on behalf of community based language groups stated that, ‘The clear message coming from the groups is that the scheme has been successful and it needs to be expanded to meet the increased demand. The focus of Foras na Gaeilge and DCAL should to be on sourcing the increased investment necessary to sustain the existing network of language officers and to support developing areas with demonstrable demand.”

In respect of the consultation document, Mr Mac Giolla Bhéin, stated that, “the document is flawed in that it fails to recognise the different context of language development in the North as opposed to the South. In the north there has been little or no support historically for language development within communities as a result of which groups have grown organically from the bottom-up and have no alternative recourse to state funding in a state which affords them no legal protection. Given the lack of status and legislative framework for the Irish language community in the North the language community needs the continued support of this scheme and the scheme needs to address and accommodate the expanding network of Irish language communities in the North. This is the strong message being sent to DCAL and Foras na Gaeilge today on behalf of Irish language community groups”

‘This consultation is open until the 24th of November and the delegation is asking all Irish language community groups, individuals, schools and community organisations to participate in the consultation to support the continued development of the language throughout the island through the retention and expansion of the original needs-based model.’

For further info, contact: Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh from Foram na nGael on feargal@forbairtfeirste.com 07841101630 / and/or Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin of Conradh na Gaeilge at ciaran@cnag.ie 07545293841

 

 

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