It is understood the Government approved a 20-year strategy for the Irish language at today's Cabinet meeting.

It is believed the Government intends to publish the strategy before Christmas.

A draft strategy was agreed by a Cabinet sub-committee last year and recommendations followed from an Oireachtas sub-committee and Irish language groups.

It is understood that the main items in the strategy include new legislation to be introduced to define Gaeltacht areas.

There is likely to be new legislation to change Údarás na Gaeltachta to Údarás na Gaeilge, with that organisation to keep its enterprise functions.

The strategy will also aim to ensure that there are 250,000 Irish speakers in the country by 2030.

A Government department and Minister for the Gaeltacht are expected to be maintained.