The aim of the Irish Language Network Development Scheme is to promote, protect and engrain the Irish language in particular areas with a particular emphasis on the development and implementation of comprehensive language plans for the areas that are part of the scheme. In accordance with government policy on the Irish language, the emphasis of this scheme is on longer term and more strategic planning following the principles of language planning.
Structured progression has been built into this scheme with a focus depending on the current stage of development of the applicant. Three stages of development have been developed as part of this scheme: higher level, intermediate level and basic level.
The higher level gives recognition to areas that have achieved status as Irish languge networks or as Gaeltacht service towns through having had a language plan approved through the Gaeltacht Act or by Foras na Gaeilge or who have submitted a plan to the Department or to Foras na Gaeilge for approval.
The intermediate level is focused on those areas that have long-established groups that have laid the groundwork for language planning already. These organisations implement programmes in which at least six of the eleven recognised langauge planning themes have been included.
The basic level is focused on areas with groups or committees that are in the beginning stages of their language planning journey. These organisations implement programmes that include three of the recognised language planning themes.