The Language Planning Process

The Language Planning Process in the Gaeltacht

As part of the Language Planning Process in the Gaeltacht, Údarás na Gaeltachta is responsible for the selection of organisations to prepare and implement language plans in Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas and in Gaeltacht Service Towns situated within Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas.

The Gaeltacht Act 2012 gives statutory effect to the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010–2030, where it is stated that ‘under the new Act, a language planning process will be instigated whereby a language plan will be prepared at community level for each Gaeltacht district’. Under the act, Gaeltacht areas, as they currently stand, will be redesignated as Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, with language plans agreed with the communities in each area.

Recognition will also be given to the role of Gaeltacht Service Towns in relation to the supply of public service to those areas, with language plans agreed with the communities in the various towns.

Language Planning Guidelines

The Process

  • The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will announce 26 Language Planning Areas and 16 Gaeltacht Service Towns.
  • As the Language Planning Areas and Gaeltacht Service Towns are announced, organisations will have an opportunity to make an application to Údarás na Gaeltachta to become a Lead Organisation and to prepare an integrated language plan. An tÚdarás will be responsible for selecting language planning Lead Organisations to prepare and to implement language plans in each Language Planning Area. An tÚdarás will also be responsible for selecting Lead Organisations to prepare and to implement language plans in each Gaeltacht Service Town located within a Language Planning Area. The most suitable Lead Organisations will be selected to develop a language plan aimed at increasing the use of Irish in their community.
  • The selected Lead Organisations will have a period of up to 2 years to prepare language plans. Údarás na Gaeltachta will assist the organisations with the preparation of these plans. The purpose of the language plans will be to enhance the level of Irish-language usage in the home, the community, in education, social, business and public structures.
  • Following the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s assessment of the language plans, in accordance with the prescribed language planning criteria, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht may approve the plans. The area concerned will be given recognition as a Gaeltacht Language Planning Area, and the town concerned will be given recognition as a Gaeltacht Service Town.
  • Selected Lead Organisations will have 7 years to implement their respective language plans.
  • The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will periodically review the implementation of the plans during the 7-year period.
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta will assist Lead Organisations in implementing the language plans.
  • The selected Lead Organisations will work in cooperation with community structures that play a central role in preserving and strengthening the Irish language in the Gaeltacht, organisations such as Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta Teo, childcare centres, Muintearas Teo, Ealaín na Gaeltachta Teo, community development organisations and groups, voluntary groups, as well as Language Services Centres.

Timeframe and Selection Process of Organisations

1. The Language Planning Process begins when a Language Planning Area is announced by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and the Gaeltacht.

The formal notice of commencement of the Process in the following Language Planning Areas has been published recently:

  • Bearna & Cnoc na Cathrach
  • Oirthear Chathair na Gaillimhe
  • An tEachréidh

The complete list of Language Planning Areas is available here.

2. Údarás na Gaeltachta will invite applications from organisations/community groups interested in becoming language planning Lead Organisations within the Language Planning Areas that have been announced.

3. Organisations that wish to apply to become Lead Organisations have two months to complete and submit the application form to Údarás na Gaeltachta.

4. Applications will be assessed by an assessment committee. Applicants may be shortlisted for interview if required.

5. The assessment process may take up to two months from the closing date for applications.

6. When the assessment process is complete, a Lead Organisation will be selected to undertake the Language Planning Process in their Language Planning Area.