Dáil Éireann - Volume 475 - 19 February, 1997

Written Answers. - Infrastructural Projects.

6. Mr. B. Ahern asked the Taoiseach if the Government intends to maintain a distinction for grant purposes between the islands in the Gaeltacht and the non-Irish speaking islands. [4286/97]

The Taoiseach: Grants are made available from the Vote of the Department of the Taoiseach for the development of access services and infrastructural projects on offshore islands. These grants are allocated on the basis of prioritised projects selected by the relevant local authorities islands committees and following an assessment of the merits and quality of each individual project proposed. This year the Government has made available an additional £1 million for priority infrastructural projects. This funding is available to all offshore islands and there is no distinction made for islands in a Gaeltacht area.

In line with previous administrations, the Government recognises the unique position of the Irish language and culture in Irish society and the role it plays in defining our identity. The Government will continue to lead and support initiatives which promote the use of the Irish language and the Development of Irish culture.

The Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht and Údarás na Gaeltachta have special responsibilities in relation to the Gaeltacht islands in the context of their overall responsibilities for the Gaeltacht region. The various schemes which are administered by the Department and An tÚdarás aim to promote the cultural, social and economic welfare of the Gaeltacht and to preserve Irish as a vernacular language.