Even with the appointment of a minister of state for the Gaeltacht, it is considered that Catherine Martin intended to play a more prominent role in the Gaeltacht than her predecessor
The care of the Gaeltacht and the Irish language is being mentioned by one of the 17 ministries of state to be announced tomorrow with various people being mentioned by post.
The new minister with the Gaeltacht in her department, Catherine Martin, may still take on that task, but reinforces the speculation that a junior minister will be dealing with Gaeltacht and Irish language matters on a day-to-day basis.
The new Minister has six responsibilities Culture, Arts, Media, Tourism, Sport and the Gaeltacht and it is almost certain that it will retain the primary cultural, artistic and media responsibility.
If the new Minister added that responsibility to the Gaeltacht, she would have much the same responsibilities as Michael D. Higgins had when the old department of arts, culture and the Gaeltacht was under his control.
Although not mentioned in the title of that section, Higgins was also responsible for the policy aspect of communications, which left TG4 the legacy of his ministerial career. With so many other responsibilities, Catherine Martin is likely to have two ministers of state.
Even if a minister of state for the Gaeltacht was appointed, it is considered that Catherine Martin intended to play a more prominent role in the Gaeltacht than her predecessor Josepha Madigan. not Madigan’s impediment to the care of the Gaeltacht at all once he had delegated to former minister of state Seán Kyne.
While the language community is likely to welcome a more prominent senior minister, it would be disappointing for the likes of Conradh na Gaeilge to relinquish their constant demand for senior responsibility from the Gaeltacht.
That demand has been being heard for almost a decade now. If the Gaeltacht is to become a minister of state again, only a handful of TDs can speak Irish and are being promoted.
It is envisaged that the various departments will appoint a minister of state from a party other than the senior minister’s party, which would disadvantage the Green Party’s Marc Ó Cathasaigh, one of the party’s three fluent Irish speakers in the Dáil.
Fianna Fáil has two Gaeltacht TDs in the 33rd Dáil, Éamon Ó Cuív and Aindrias Moynihan, but they both have disadvantages for different reasons.
In the case of Andrew Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, a faithful pastor of Michael Moynihan for some years, is thought to be on the rise and it is believed that a couple from Cork, in particular, and what has been spoken about, are almost number of Koreans in the cabinet.
While few would agree that former Gaeltacht minister Éamon Ó Cuív is the best Dáil person with an understanding of the work of the Gaeltacht department, he and the new Taoiseach have been in disagreement for some time with the new Fianna Fáil is going.
It would be surprising if Cuív was offered a state ministry, even if it was a love of peace.
That means that there are two people in Fianna Fáil who could fill a vacancy for Gaeltacht State ministry if that comes to mind – Thomas Byrne and Dara Calleary.
Byrne, whose constituency is Rathcairn, was mentioned by a senior ministry and is now being appointed as minister of state for European affairs, a very popular position.
The case of Dara Calleary, deputy leader and former spokesman for the Fianna Fáil Gaeltacht, has been widely publicized since the new cabinet was announced at the weekend.
Calleary had a confrontation with the new Taoiseach when Mayo man was given Prime Ministerial rather than senior ministry.
While it may have eased the controversy over the absence of any senior minister in Connacht and the north-west, it is thought that Calleary may be awarded another task tomorrow, although some sources spoken with by Report.ie were of the opinion would not be the ministry of the Gaeltacht.
For Fine Gael Irish speakers, the former minister of education may be given junior ministry and care of the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh as the loser’s prize.
Joe McHugh has already served two terms as minister of state in the Department of the Gaeltacht and the controversy over the geographical distribution of senior ministries may help his case.
Joe McHugh said yesterday that he would not accept any state ministry unless he could do Donegal’s best interests.
Another Fine Gael TD who could be posted is Brendan Griffin from Kerry who was the minister of state in the last Government for tourism and sport. The new ministers of state will be announced on Wednesday.
Catherine Martin has made a number of strong statements in the Dáil about the Irish language and the Gaeltacht since she was first elected to the Dáil in 2016, which reinforces the hopes of Conradh na Gaeilge like her that she will take positive action for the language.
Conradh na Gaeilge, which warmly welcomed Catherine Martin’s appointment, is continuing a campaign to ensure that the primary responsibility for the Gaeltacht is not transferred to a minister of state.
Catherine Martin is one of the few TDs who have accepted that there is a language crisis in the Gaeltacht. She gave her first speech in the 33rd Dáil in Irish only to “draw attention” to the same crisis.
Another statement made by the deputy leader of the Green Party on the Irish language drew public attention in 2016.
She said then that the language community depended on all politicians in the Dáil “to demonstrate leadership in the promotion of language rights and services”.
“We are ashamed of TDs if we abandon the Gaeltacht dream,” she said.
She also said in the Dáil that the last Government had the same flawed approach to the Gaeltacht crisis as they had to the environmental crisis. She said that the Irish language was in danger of dying in the Gaeltacht while Fine Gael was sending out ‘nice’ tweets.
An Taoiseach Michael Martin said that Catherine Martin will lead the work of the next government on “the national language” and that the Government will give “a new significance” to the Irish language and the Gaeltacht.
People soon know what he meant by “new significance”.