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Concerns about the separation of the islands from the Department of the Gaeltacht

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Brian Adam
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Politicians in the west worry and wonder over the care of the islands being moved from the Department of the Gaeltacht to the Department of Social Protection, Rural Affairs and the Islands

Concerns about the separation of the islands from the Department of the Gaeltacht

TDs in West Galway have expressed concern because care of the islands being moved from the Department of the Gaeltacht to the Department of Social Protection, Rural Affairs and the Islands.

Fianna Fáil TD, Éamon Ó Cuív, Sinn Féin TD Mairéad Farrell and independent TD Catherine Connolly have expressed concern about the decision to separate the islands from the Gaeltacht, which is now under the new division of the Green Party’s Deputy Leader, Catherine Martin.

It is envisaged that the Gaeltacht islands will continue to be involved with the Gaeltacht islands in terms of language policy, but that the Department of Social Protection, Rural Affairs and the Islands will have infrastructure and transport services.

Speaking of the program Iris West on Raidió na Gaeltachta yesterday, TD TD Éamon Ó Cuív said the decision to separate the Gaeltacht’s care from the islands was “a shock to him”.

“I couldn’t believe that the care of the Gaeltacht and the islands have been separated. This has not gone unnoticed until now. The two parts of the Department are administered from Na Forbacha and were inextricably linked to the fact that the majority of the island population live on Gaeltacht islands, ”he said.

Ó Cuív said that there had been great progress in the islands since 1997 when these two tasks were placed in one Department and that the most recent decision had no logic.

“In my view, that is where they should be and it will be interesting to see when dealing with Gaeltacht islands whether the work is being done through Irish as always in the Department of the Gaeltacht.”

Ó Cuív said that it would be necessary to set up new sections in the two new divisions to serve the islands, most of which are in the Gaeltacht.

“It’s those technical things that will make a big difference,” he said.

Ó Cuív said that there was a danger that the islands would not be given the same significance if they were being served in an office of the new Department of Social Protection, Rural Affairs and the Islands and that there would be another question about which language would be doing the work of those sections.

New sections of the new Department under the care of Heather Humphreys may be located in Na Forbacha or an Irish department may be established in the Ballina Rural Development Department in County Mayo.

On the same program on RnaG, the independent TD for Galway West, Catherine Connolly, said she did not understand the basis for the decision to “separate” the islands from the Gaeltacht.

Sinn Féin TD Mairéad Farrell said the Gaeltacht and the islands had particular problems and that she was “concerned” that the islands were separated from the Gaeltacht.

“Most of the islands are in the Gaeltacht, I would be scared to forget the islands as a whole,” said Farrell.

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