Council to assess Irish standard for Gaeltacht houses

Released: 29 April 2008

In order to promote and conserve the Irish language and culture in the county, a number of housing developments in Gaeltacht areas in Kerry have specific Irish Language clauses attached, ensuring that a percentage of the houses are sold to Irish speakers.

Kerry County Council has now finalised the process whereby Irish speakers looking to purchase these houses can have their standard of Irish assessed.

“The Kerry County Development Plan identifies the need to protect the linguistic and cultural heritage of the Gaeltacht areas, and promote Irish as the community language,” Director of Planning & Sustainable Development, Michael McMahon explained.

“Having a percentage of houses set aside for Irish speakers ensures that linguistic and cultural heritage of the Gaeltacht areas can be maintained and strengthened.”

The process sees prospective buyers contact Kerry County Council’s Planning Department, informing them of their intention to purchase one of the houses earmarked under the Irish Language clause.

The prospective buyer then has their standard of Irish assessed by the Council’s Oifig na Gaeilge through an interview process. This process assesses not only the person’s level of Irish, but also their everyday use of the language, attitude towards the language and ongoing commitment to improving their ability and fluency in Irish.

The required ability in Irish is the same as the standard applied by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in the case of their Housing Grant Scheme.

Information leaflets have been prepared by Kerry County Council, which contain details of the process, as well as information about learning and using Irish, and details of various supports which are available to prospective purchasers.

These are available at Kerry County Council’s Planning Department, and will also be distributed to the various developers and agents operating in Kerry’s Gaeltacht areas.

Kerry County Council, Co. Buildings, Rathass, Tralee

Phone: (066) 718 3500     Email: info@kerrycoco.ie

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