THE Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has defended its decision not to appoint any Co Cork member to the new board of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
Minister of State with responsibility for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh, announced the new board recently.
Anna Ní Ghallachair, director of the Languages Centre at NUIM Maynooth, was reappointed as chairperson of the board, along with 10 others.
While there are members from Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry – which all have Gaeltacht areas – there are no members from Cork.
The Minister’s office said four members were appointed to the board on foot of nominations by County Councils, while the remaining appointments were overseen by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) which facilitated applications from the public.
In response to a query from The Southern Star, the Minister’s office defended the decision not to have anyone from Cork on the board. ‘In accordance with the provisions of the Act, members nominated by Meath, Waterford and Cork County Councils, serve a two-year term of office on a rotational basis. On foot of this arrangement, Máire Seosaimhín Breathnach, the nomination of Waterford County Council, remains on the new board until February 14th 2019. It should be noted that in appointing members to the new board ... the Minister had to be satisfied that the persons being appointed had experience of, or shown capacity in, matters relevant to the functions of an tÚdarás, including the capacity to discharge functions in relation to an tÚdarás in the Irish language,’ a statement said.
It added: ‘The Minister also paid due regard to matters such as gender and geographical considerations. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the remaining 12th member is nominated by the relevant local authorities on foot of a rotational arrangement which lasts two years and which applies to the Gaeltacht areas of Meath, Waterford and Cork. In accordance with this arrangement, Máire Seosaimhín Breathnach, the nomination of Waterford County Council, remains on the new board until February 14th 2019.’