Foras na Gaeilge’s concern over the excessive delay to guidance on the preparation of the 2017 Business Plan and the 2017-19 Corporate Plan has been expressed to the appropriate authorities in the departments north and south. Not only is the guidance itself delayed, but the departments have not indicated any budget or exchange rate, which means Foras na Gaeilge cannot draft comprehensive plans in accordance with best practice in organisational management without these necessary figures.
Foras na Gaeilge Acting Chairperson, Marcas Mac Ruairí, said today, “In other years there has been a commitment that the guidance would come from the Finance Departments and the Sponsoring Departments by the end of August (although this has not always been complied with). We are now in November 2016 and there is no sign of guidance or any other relevant information, and both plans are to be implemented in January 2017. If these plans are not approved before 31 December 2016 there is an obvious risk to the budget as is obvious from the discussion which has taken place in the NI Assembly already on the question. There could be serious risks to jobs in the Irish language sector as a result. Until the budget and 2017 Business Plan are agreed Foras na Gaeilge will not be in a position to pay salaries:
- to its own staff,
- to staff of the Lead Organisations,
- to staff in some of our schemes (the Irish Language Communities Scheme and the Drama Companies Scheme, for example),
- to those employed through opportunities associated with some of our other schemes (the Summer Camps Scheme, the Youth Activities Scheme etc.).
There will be serious consequences for the Irish language if this is allowed to happen.”
Foras na Gaeilge has asked the Sponsoring Departments and the Finance Departments to address these difficulties as a matter of urgency.