Gaeltacht summer schools receive €4.7 million lifeline

Galway Daily news Funding awarded to explore feasibility of Irish Language Cultural Centre in Galway City

Gaeltacht summer schools left desolate by closures due to the Covid-19 crisis have received emergency support from once off funding of €4.7 million.

Galway Senator and Minister of State Seán Kyne said that this once off stabilisation fund has been set up to keep Gaeltacht summer schools viable past this crisis.

His department announced on April 20 that summer courses in the Irish Language in the Gaeltacht would not go ahead this year.

From the fund €3.1 million will be given to for colleges to provides refunds on fees and deposits to parents.

While the remaining €1.6 million will help offset the losses incurred by the roughly 700 households who normally take in students.

Announcing the stabilisation fund, Senator Kyne said that Gaeltacht communities faced “unique challenges” due to the cancellation of summer schools.

The €4.7 million fund recognises the contribution gaeltacht schools make “providing language learning and enrichment opportunities” for the Irish language outside of the normal school sector.

These 42 recognised colleges take in 26,000 students each summer for Irish Language courses.

He added that sector is a significant contributor to regional economies, “estimated to be worth €50m annually, also provides a valuable income source to over 700 Gaeltacht householders”.

He added that the money going to households housing gaeltacht students provides significant “down-stream benefits” to local communities.

“In light of this and the importance of ensuring the sector’s ongoing viability into the future in the broader context of the language, I am delighted to be in a position to provide this stability fund”.

The fund will be drawn from existing resources within the Community Language and Supports programme at the department.