Established in 1980, Údarás na Gaeltachta is the regional authority responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht. The overall objective of Údarás na Gaeltachta is to ensure that Irish remains the main communal language of the Gaeltacht and is passed on to future generations.
The authority endeavours to achieve that objective by funding and fostering a wide range of enterprise development and job creation initiatives and by supporting strategic language, cultural and community based activities.
A governing board of 12 members and a staff of 82 people implement the agency’s development brief.
Údarás encourages investment in the Gaeltacht through a range of generous financial and non-financial incentives for new and existing enterprises in the Gaeltacht.
The organisation supports businesses in developing new markets, technologies, products and strategic alliances through research and development. Gaeltacht companies span a range of commercial sectors, including life sciences, ICT, tourism, fish processing and aquaculture, renewable energy, food, niche manufacturing, audio visual and digital media, arts and crafts.
Over 7,000 people are currently employed full time in Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies and these companies have a significant a economic impact and make a substantial contribution to the Irish economy.
All of the organisation’s activities have the aim of preserving and promoting the Irish language at their core. Údarás funds a range of strategic language and cultural initiatives as well as supporting the Irish language through its own practices.
Údarás supports a range of initiatives and collaborates with individuals, community groups and companies which embrace Irish and provide the everyday settings in which the language flourishes, such as:
The people of the Gaeltacht play an active role in the economic, social and cultural development of their communities, largely through well-established groups such as community cooperatives and community development companies.
An tÚdarás provides funding for these and provides the advice, assistance and financial support that help these community groups become strong and proactive structures which can deliver local services, promote local development initiatives, and in many instances manage and administer community or state assets such as enterprise centres.
An tÚdarás works in close partnership with community groups to administer social employment schemes, manage youth clubs and pre-school groups and enhance the social infrastucture through activities such as the provision of assistance for the elderly and the disadvantaged.