€3.4 MILLION in funding the for the development of an Irish language and Gaeltacht development centre - on a site accquired by Údarás na Gaeltachta in Ballyferriter - has been approved.
The 1,400 square metre development centre will include offices and new facilities for Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne Teo, including a family language support centre (comprising new pre-school facilities and services), a training centre and three Údarás na Gaeltachta enterprise units.
A public playground will also be developed on the site, which is located on the outskirts of the townland of An Buailtín. Údarás na Gaeltachta will manage the building and development of the project, which is due for completion before autumn 2014.
Funding to the tune of €1.2 million has been approved by the board of Udarás na Gaeltachta for the project and last Friday Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan TD announced grant funding from his Department of €1,746,765.
Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne will contribute €500,000 and the project will be completed through a partnership between the state - including the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Kerry County Council - and the community development organisations Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne and Coiste Ionad Tacaíochta Teaghlaigh Chorca Dhuibhne.
"I am delighted to be able to provide the comharchumann with this grant," said Minister Deenihan. "This facility will serve as a new headquarters for the comharchumann, as a family support facility and as a community facility.
"While Gaeltacht communities face many challenges, I believe this new centre will strengthen the Irish language as the language of the community in Corca Dhuibhne."
Local TD Brendan Griffin also welcomed the grant announcements.
"This is fantastic news for the people of West Kerry," he told The Kerryman. "As a native of the Dingle Peninsula, I am delighted to see Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne receiving this funding."
Mayor of Kerry Cllr Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, who was involved in the process from its early stages, said it was great to see eight years of work finally come to fruition.
"This centre will help attract more students to the Gaeltacht to learn Irish, it's a big boost for the area," he said.
"Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne and its subsidiary companies have an important role in the development and preservation of the Irish language in Corca Dhuibhne," added Éamonn Ó Neachtain, Údarás regional manager.
"This development will enhance the number and standard of services available in the area, the community's viability, and present employment preservation and opportunities in Corca Dhuibhne."