Seanad Éireann Debate – Tuesday, 20 June 2017
“I congratulate the new Taoiseach, Ministers and Ministers of State on their appointments and wish them every success. God knows, we need strength, leadership, depth and conviction to help Ireland get to where we need to be in this world of economics. However, I express my disappointment, and that of many in the west of Ireland, that we do not have a Cabinet Minister from Galway. It is the third largest city in Ireland with a population of 250,000 people. However, in this and the previous Government, we have not had a senior Cabinet Minister. I hear it on the streets in Galway and all over the place and I express my and other people’s disappointment at the fact.
I ask the Leader to invite the new Minister of State with responsibility for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the islands, Deputy Joe McHugh, to address the House on the Scéim Gaeilge which is in place to promote Irish in the Gaeltacht and Ireland generally but which, frankly, is not working. It has not worked during the term of the previous Government and it is not working under this one.
I was born, reared and live in the Gaeltacht. Irish is my first language and English is my second. One of the major reasons the scheme is not working is because we are not focused on the people.
We tell people, companies and communities to draw up a plan to promote Irish but it is purely academic and of no benefit whatsoever. What people from the Gaeltacht want is the opportunity to get up and work. We do not want handouts, we want the opportunity to have a job. Ten jobs in a rural Gaeltacht in Kerry, Donegal or Galway or any other part of rural Ireland are worth perhaps 500 jobs in a place like Dublin. I ask for us to focus on that and for the Leader to invite the Minister of State to come to the House to talk to us about his plean Gaeilge and his vision so that we can help him along that line.”