“I am delighted that the Government has taken this decision as it means that we will now be able to prioritise the drafting of the Gaeltacht Bill,” said the Donegal South West TD.
“This is important legislation which will enable my department to take the appropriate steps to begin the language-planning process in the Gaeltacht and to give statutory effect to Údarás na Gaeltachta to implement the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language in the Gaeltacht.”
Under existing arrangements, Údarás has 20 board members, 17 of whom are elected and three of whom are appointed.
It is envisaged the new board will have between 10 and 17 members. A number of board members will be nominated by the Minister and the remainder nominated by county councils in counties with Gaeltacht regions.
This element of the legislation plan has already been criticised by Fianna Fáil as “an affront to democracy” and Conradh na Gaeilge has claimed that it will break the link between the community and the Údarás.
Under the new rules gaeltachtai will no longer be based on geographical areas but on the ability to speak the language.
This will mean new areas outside the traditional areas could be designated.