It is “disappointing” that a TD without competence in the Irish language has been appointed for the third successive time as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, according to a Green Party general election candidate. Peter Kavanagh, whom the party named as their candidate in Dublin Mid-West at the beginning of November, said that the appointment was an indication of the level of disrespect Fine Gael show for the issues facing Gaeltacht areas and the Irish language.
“It would appear that Fine Gael think Irish is quite nice, but that they do not have to take it seriously and show any commitment or leadership at the cabinet table,” said Kavanagh, “They feel it is sufficient to appoint a junior minister with some ability in the language, or sometimes just an interest in learning Irish, to fight the language’s corner; but when it comes to senior ministries, it is not seen as important to place the Irish language on an equal footing.”
First-time TD Josepha Madigan was appointed Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht yesterday, breaking an unofficial tradition of not appointing first-term deputies to senior cabinet posts. Kavanagh says that this is irrelevant.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Deputy Madigan’s first term, or tenth term, in the Dáil,” he said, “I assume she has shown some ability, given that she has commanded such an important cabinet post. But this is not the way to deal with the crisis facing Gaeltacht areas. At a time when the language itself is in need, this is disappointing.”