What Does the New Irish-Language Plan Mean for Music?

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Johnny Óg Connolly performing in the show ‘Aisling?’.

What Does the New Irish-Language Plan Mean for Music?

Five-year plan promises new funding for the arts.

Last week (29 June 2018), the Government published a new five-year action plan for the Irish language and the Gaeltacht areas. It is part of an overall 20-year strategy that was launched in 2010 to increase the number of Irish speakers throughout the country.

With traditional music and song strong in the Gaeltacht areas, what, therefore, are the implications in the plan?

There were no sections on the arts included in the 20-year strategy, whereas there are sections on ‘The Arts’ and ‘Festivals’ in this new five-year plan. The key point is that additional funding is promised for Ealaín na Gaeltachta, which funds the arts in the Gaeltacht.

No specific figure is mentioned. The plan states that funding will be provided for the development of the arts generally, and for the traditional arts specifically for young people.

In order to further support the development of the traditional arts in a way that will benefit the arts, and as a way to provide language enrichment and acquisition opportunities for the young people of the Gaeltacht, additional funding will be made available to Ealaín na Gaeltachta for the systematic development of traditional arts activities for young people throughout all Gaeltacht areas.

Ealaín na Gaeltachta is jointly funded by the Arts Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta. A report from 2010 estimated that it was responsible for a quarter of the funding for all Gaeltacht arts organisations and artists. Its funding was cut following the economic crash. 

In the ‘Festivals’ section of the new Government language plan, there is no specific mention of the festivals in the Irish-speaking areas. It reads:

Funding support will continue to be made available to the relevant lead organisation to provide opportunities to support the use of Irish and the establishment of networks for adults.

The lead organisations cited are Foras na Gaeilge and Oireachtas na Gaeilge.

Finally, the action plan states that ‘an integrated Arts Strategy will be developed for Gaeltacht and Irish-language arts in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, including Údarás na Gaeltachta, Foras na Gaeilge, the Arts Council and TG4’. 

For more on the five-year plan, see below or visit www.chg.gov.ie.

Published on 5 July 2018

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