THE new board of Údarás na Gaeltachta, announced last week by Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Minister of State Dinny McGinley TD, includes two representatives from the West Kerry Gaeltacht.
Well-known paramedic and businessman Pádraig Hanafin from Beenbawn joins Cllr Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald (pictured), who was nominated by Kerry County Council as Kerry's representatives on the board. Long-standing board member Breandán MacGearailt retired from the board earlier this year.
Anna Ní Ghallchóir, Director of the Languages Centre in NUI Maynooth, has been appointed as new Chairperson of the board, along with 10 other members.
The new board of Údarás na Gaeltachta includes Seán Ó Cuireán (solicitor and manager of Donegal Volunteer Centre), Cathal Seoighe (nominated by Meath County Council), Dairíona Nic an Iomaire (Principal of Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh, Galway), Eunan Mac Cuinneagáin (Regional Manager of WESTBIC, Donegal), Fiachra Ó Ceilleachair (HSE executive and former member of Waterford County Council), Ian Mac Aindriú (nominated by Mayo County Council), Micheál Ó Scanaill (businessman, Baile Bhuirne) and Seosamh Ó Laoi (nominated by Galway County Council).
Four members were appointed on foot of nominations by County Councils that have a Gaeltacht area within their jurisdiction. The nomination of Donegal County Council has not yet been ratified.
"While Údarás na Gaeltachta undoubtedly faces challenging times ahead, I am confident that the ability, experience and wide range of skills of all the board members will greatly benefit both Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Gaeltacht community in the coming years," Minister McGinley stated following the announcement.
The Minister of State also thanked the previous board members of Údarás na Gaeltachta for "their initiative and diligence".
Údarás Chief Executive Steve Ó Cúláin welcomed the appointments, adding that he is looking forward to working with the new board to preserving and maintaining the Irish language as the main language of the Gaeltacht community, fostering enterprise development and job creation initiatives, in addition to the provision of social and cultural development schemes aimed at sustaining and strengthening Gaeltacht communities.
The chief executive and employees of Údarás also thanked former board members and former Chairman Liam Ó Cuinneagáin for their commitment and co-operation over the years.
It is anticipated that Údarás management will meet with the new board before Christmas.