Govt forces through ‘undemocratic’ Gaeltacht Bill – Ó Domhnaill

The Government is doing everything in its power to force its controversial Gaeltacht Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas, according to Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill.

 

The Bill, which will remove the democratic elections for Údarás na Gaeltachta, was guillotined at Committee Stage in the Seanad today (Thursday, 05 July) after just 16 of 160 amendments were debated. 

 

Senator Ó Domhnaill said, “This is a bad day for democracy.  Not only does this Bill seek to take power from the people and give the Minister of the day too much control over Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Government is now trying to rush these unpopular measures into law without allocating proper time for debate.

 

“Today, the Government refused to facilitate enough time in the Seanad to discuss the proposed changes to the Bill put forward by all parties. There was only enough time to discuss 10% of the amendments. The Bill has now been pushed forward to report stage next week, but again only a very short amount of time was allocated.

 

“I have already voiced my strong opposition to this Bill. It is fundamentally flawed and lacks substance.  The Bill transfers the responsibility from language planning from the Department to community organisations but makes no provision for resources to meet this. It spells an end of the democratic elections to the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta, giving powers to the Gaeltacht Minister to appoint many of the board members himself.  The remainder of the board will be nominated by County Councillors, many of whom have no connection with the Gaeltacht whatsoever.  Far from preserving our national language, this Bill will result in further cutbacks. 

 

“The fact that my colleagues and I, along with other parties in the Seanad, have been denied the chance to have our amendments to the Bill debated and considered is a disgrace. Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta also put in a lot of work in helping to prepare sensible amendments to make this legislation fairer and more realistic, but these were not even considered in full.

 

“The Finance Minister Michael Noonan himself admitted in the Seanad this week that rushed legislation made for bad legislation. And yet, this Government has a record of pushing through unpopular legislation without proper debate, particularly in relation to the Septic Tank Bill.  Voters whose lives will be impacted by these changes deserve better.”

Posted: Jul 5, 2012     |     Categories: Uncategorized