Dinny McGinley, TD, new minister of state for Gaeltacht Affairs, was to meet yesterday with Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs officials in Gaoth Dobhair.
The veteran deputy said that he also hoped to meet yesterday, the start of his first full week as a minister of state, with officials from Údarás na Gaeltachta. Minister McGinley said he would detail priority issues for the Gaeltacht after the briefings.
The campaigning group Guth na Gaeltachta has welcomed his appointment. “As a native Irish speaker from the Gaoth Dobhair Gaeltacht, and as a member of the cross-party Oireachtas committee that dealt with the recently published 20-year strategy for the Irish language, he has a very good understanding of the need to urgently implement the recommendations of the strategy,” a Guth na Gaeltachta spokesperson said.
MEP Pat “the Cope” Gallagher of Fianna Fáil also welcomed the appointment, saying, “I believe he will make an excellent Gaeltacht minister and the experience he has gained over the years will serve him well.”
The Gaoth Dobhair politician was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the February 1982 general election. He has held a number of front bench positions within the party, including spokesperson on Youth Affairs (1987–88, 1994), the Gaeltacht (1988–91), the Gaeltacht and Emigrant Welfare (1991–94), Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (2001–02), Defence (2002–04) and Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (2004–07).
His re-election last month made him one of the longest-serving members of Dáil Éireann and his appointment last week marked the first Fine Gael minister for Donegal South West since 1954.
Minister McGinley enjoyed a warm homecoming on Friday, crossing the River Dowes and attending receptions at Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal Town and Gaoth Dobhair, where he was greeted by crowds of friends, political colleagues and others.
“There was a great reception coming into my own constituency,” Minister McGinley said.