Donegal Digital partner Údarás na Gaeltachta has published the full 2021 End of Year Statement for the Gaeltacht areas. Among our partners' successful achievements, we highlight:
- 7,809 full-time jobs in client companies at year end (825 new jobs created in the Gaeltacht in 2021)
- 379 new jobs approved in projects involving an investment of €10.4m
- €13.75m in capital provision approved for the development of Gaeltacht business infrastructure
- 20 Language Plans being implemented with a budget of €2.2m
- An ambitious 5 Year Strategic Plan for 2021 – 2025 launched
- Administrative funding of €2.816m provided for 33 community development organisations
- gteic - 27 digital hubs in place with over 320 doing work there
The gteic - Gaeltacht Digital Network - was a crucial and intuitive investment in the Gaeltacht’s business infrastructure during the last year. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, over 320 people, in excess of 180 of which are not included in employment figures, were working in the vibrant 27 digital hubs network.
Innovation is continuously intensifying in the Gaeltacht and five client companies, in conjunction with other parties, had projects worth €15m approved under the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for pioneering Gaeltacht initiatives. Welcoming today’s statement the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD said: “I welcome the publication of the Údarás na Gaeltachta 2021 End-of-Year Statement and the significant job creation figures it outlines for Gaeltacht areas. It indicates how State investment positively affects the Gaeltacht along with the extraordinary work being carried out by Údarás na Gaeltachta.” The Government Chief Whip and the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport Jack Chambers, TD also added: “Today’s statement is great news for the Gaeltacht community and indicates how Údarás na Gaeltachta supports communities and companies located in the Gaeltacht. I was pleased to launch the Strategic Plan during the year which sets out a vision for the Gaeltacht over the next 5 years. It is an ambitious plan, a plan that will benefit the Irish speaking community, enterprise and community development in the Gaeltacht and today’s announcement shows the progress made since then and which will be seen in the future.”
Regarding employment, 825 new full-time jobs were created in Gaeltacht companies in 2021, the highest number of jobs created in one year since 2008. There were 7,809 full-time and 485 part-time jobs in companies supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta at the end of 2021. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gaeltacht companies have shown good levels of stability and the region witnessed a degree of recovery in terms of employment, driven by company innovation and the considerable growth of the medical devices and medical products sectors. Speaking Chief Executive of Údarás na Gaeltachta, Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh said: “Gaeltacht communities and companies deserve huge recognition for their perseverance during this pandemic. The resilience shown has resulted in an increase in Gaeltacht employment over the past year. The challenges placed on Gaeltacht businesses and communities by this pandemic and Brexit are yet to be overcome but it is a source of considerable encouragement to see greenshoots of recovery by companies including the surge in the medical device sector in the Gaeltacht.”
Furthermore, considerable strides have been made with the strategic project ‘An Ghaeltacht Ghlas’ (the Green Gaeltacht) in promoting photovoltaic projects in Gaoth Dobhair (Donegal), An Cheathrú Rua and on their business parks. In 2022, a particular emphasis will be placed on supporting and encouraging Gaeltacht client companies to take steps in terms of renewable energy and climate change activities.
Community development and Language Planning Activities
Údarás na Gaeltachta recognises that community development organisations are critical in achieving its strategic goals in partnership with the Gaeltacht communities. Údarás na Gaeltachta, in association with the DTCAGS&M, provided €2.816m in funding to 33 community development organisations to enable them to undertake a community development programme aimed at the needs of the local community and tourism projects, language planning, renewable energy and the gteic network, among others.
Another significant milestone was reached during the year regarding language plans. During 2021, language plans were being implemented in 20 of the 26 recognised Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas (LPAs) with total investment of €2.2 million as well as 19 Language Planning Officers and four Assistant Language Planning Officers employed at year end. The Chair of Údarás na Gaeltachta, Anna Ní Ghallachair also added: “A significant milestone has been reached in terms of language planning thanks to the diligence of the Gaeltacht communities in preparing the plans. For the first time, language plans will be implemented at a community level in every Gaeltacht community in 2022 supported by direct investment in those language communities.”