Bradley warns Foras funding regime move will ‘decimate North’s Irish language sector’
SDLP spokesperson on the Irish language, Dominic Bradley has said his party is not satisfied with the decision taken by Foras na Gaeilge with regards to the new funding regime.
Speaking after meeting of the party, Bradley said these proposals were being implemented largely against the will of the major Irish language organisations.
“For the last four years these groups have condemned the process and proposals brought forward by Foras na Gaeilge – even those arts groups which may have benefited from them,” he told Newry Times.
“The organisations and the Irish language community strongly opposed the proposals, but were ignored. The SDLP has no doubt that these changes will do serious damage to the development of the Irish language, especially in the north where important organisations may lose funding as a result of them.
“The SDLP ensured the Foras officials appeared before the Assembly’s Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee and were questioned rigorously about their proposals but, it was quite clear, they had little or no intention of backing down,” he insisted.
“We have succeeded in delaying the implementation of the new funding regime, which has neither research base nor widespread support.
“However, it remains to be seen what the long term effects of these proposals will be but, one thing is sure, that the short term effects will be the decimation of the Irish language sector in the north unless some mechanism is found to mitigate their worst impact.
“It’s quite obvious that the locus of the Irish language movement has now been centralised with the six lead organisations being based there. Whilst the SDLP fully supports an All Ireland approach to the development of Irish, we do not believe the centre of action has to be Dublin.
Bradley added, “What we want now from the ministers involved is a clear mechanism for ensuring and enabling the marginalised groups in the north to be brought in for the funding circle and for their expertise, skills and knowledge to be continued to be used for the development of Irish.”
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