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Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media | To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the extent to which her Department continues to encourage and generate interest in Irish culture from the primary and second-level school system

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the extent to which her Department continues to encourage and generate interest in Irish culture from the primary and second-level school system; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


The Creative Youth Plan was published by the government in 2017 as one of the five pillars of the Creative Ireland Programme. Underlying the Plan is the conviction that creativity and culture should be at the heart of education for all our young people. The Creative Youth Plan sets out measures designed to enable the creative potential of every young person, both within the formal education system and in informal or community settings. 

The Plan is implemented by my Department in partnership with the Department of Education, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Arts Council. Progress on the delivery of its objectives to date has included the roll-out of a number of schools-based initiatives allowing culture, creativity and the arts flourish in the education system.

Creative Schools, delivered by the Arts Council, has supported 652 schools develop and implement their own creative plan, while strengthening the relationships between schools and the broader cultural and community infrastructure. Creative Clusters, delivered by my colleague Minister Foley, enables groups of up to five schools to collaborate on an innovative arts and creative project to address a common issue or challenge (almost 300 schools to date). In 2021, Minister Foley announced a new initiative developed by the Department of Education, titled BLAST (Bringing Live Arts to Schools and Teachers), which enabled over 480 new Arts-in-Education residencies in schools in its first year. Creative Youth also provides funding support for Creative Engagement grants operated by the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals. 

Creative Youth has seen my department form partnerships to further enrich creative and cultural engagement in schools. Collaborating with Sing Ireland, the YouthSing Ireland programme developed high quality interactions with musicians, online performance activities and educational resources for young people. This included a specific set of songs and resources in Irish or of Irish cultural heritage designed for use in formal and informal settings. The Big Idea, in partnership with the Institute of Designers in Ireland, works with students to address problems and issues through creative problem solving and design thinking.

Additionally, my Department provides ongoing financial support for a number of initiatives which support language learning and enrichment opportunities in Gaeltacht schools via the traditional arts and sports. This further underpins the ongoing implementation of the language planning process and the policy on Gaeltacht education as key drivers of government’s overarching 5-Year Action Plan for the Irish language (Plean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022).

Under my Department’s Community and Language Support Programme, funding is provided to support Gaeltacht-based organisations to deliver agreed work programmes in the domains of the traditional arts (Ealaín na Gaeltachta) and sports (Clár na gCluichí Gaelacha). Both of these programmes are largely delivered through the network of schools in Gaeltacht regions.

While my Department continues to support the initiatives referenced above in a collaborative manner across Government, primary responsibility for Irish culture as part of the school curriculum rests with my colleague, Minister Foley.

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