The Process

Chomhairle

As part of the Language Planning Process in the Gaeltacht, Údarás na Gaeltachta is responsible for selecting 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 services to those areas, with language plans agreed with the communities in the various towns.

Language Planning in the Gaeltacht

Since the Gaeltacht Act 2012 was enacted, the Gaeltacht has been divided into 26 various areas which are called Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas (LPT). According to the Act, the community in every LPT must prepare a language plan for their own area so that it can be recognised as a Gaeltacht area.  

As well as the Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, three Gaeltacht towns have been recognised that could receive a status as Gaeltacht Service Towns (BSG). 

The Gaeltacht Act 2012 sets out a structure to be followed when preparing language plans. According to this structure, the Minister for the Gaeltacht announces that the language planning process will begin in a certain LPT or BSG, and Údarás na Gaeltacht choose a lead organisation to manage the language planning process in that LPT/BSG. The lead organisations are given two years to prepare a language plan in conjunction with the community in that area, it is then submitted to the Minister for approval. If approved, the lead organisation has seven years to implement the language plan. Údarás na Gaeltachta are responsible for coordinating this language planning process in the Gaeltacht.  

Click here to see the language plans that have been approved to date. 

Language Planning outside of the Gaeltacht

As well as the 26 LPTs and 3 BSGs, there are 13 towns that sit just outside  the Gaeltacht, that can be recognised as Gaeltacht Service Towns. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has also recognised three other towns that are in the process of being recognised as Irish Language Networks. 

Foras na Gaeilge are responsible for coordinating the language planning process outside the Gaeltacht. 

Key Points

  • The Department of Culture, 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 apply 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 implement language plans in each Language Planning Area. An tÚdarás will also be responsible for selecting Lead Organisations to prepare and 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 Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s assessment of the language plans, in accordance with the prescribed language planning criteria, the Minister for Culture, 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 Culture, 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.

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 for applications may take up to two months from the closing date.

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