A cabinet committee established to examine the future of the Irish language is considering a major shake-up of the way the language is promoted and developed here, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

Under confidential proposals prepared for the cabinet committee on Irish and the Gaeltacht, seen by the Sunday Tribune, this could lead to a fundamental restructuring of Údarás na Gaeltachta, the state body currently responsible for the Gaeltacht.

If implemented, it would be renamed as Údarás na Gaeilge, and would become a new national Irish language agency. The renamed body would have overall responsibility for Irish-language matters throughout the state, while its current enterprise-promotion functions may be transferred elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the remit of Fóras na Gaeilge – which is currently responsible for the promotion of the Irish language throughout the whole island of Ireland – could be "refocused" to concentrate only on cross-border Irish-language matters.

These are among the main features of proposals outlined in a written submission by the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to the recent McCarthy group on public-sector numbers. Details of the submission, with some sections blanked out, have been published on the Department of Finance website.

However, the Sunday Tribune has learned that the omitted sections include references to the proposals for the establishment of an "Údarás na Gaeilge", which the submission notes are currently being considered by the cabinet committee on Irish and the Gaeltacht.

It states that a restructured Údarás could either "retain its present range of functions, or alternatively transfer its enterprise functions to Enterprise Ireland".

"The possibility of the new Údarás na Gaeilge carrying out, on an agency basis, functions through Irish for other public bodies" is also to be investigated under the proposals, t­he submission adds.

Elsewhere, the document reveals that the department told the McCarthy group that the non-profit community agency Pobal could be closed in the space of two years, with its staff redeployed to other departments.

The organisation, whose role is to support communities and local agencies in their attempts to achieve social inclusion, earlier this year announced that it was laying off 90 of its staff.

Regional and specialist support agencies should also be abolished, the department argued, while funding to the various partnerships supported by the state should be cut by up to €10m.

This is likely to prove hugely controversial among those working in the community and voluntary sector, amid serious concerns that it is being singled out as an "easy target" for significant funding cuts.

Similarly, the department said savings of €5m a year could be achieved through the non-renewal of federations and networks and partnership schemes when they conclude in 2010.