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Doherty calls for review of decision to cut Irish language colleges teaching grant

16 October, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has called on the Government to review its decision to cut the teaching grant for pupils learning Irish at Irish language colleges during the summer months.

Senator Doherty said the effect of the cut will be disastrous for the Irish language, the colleges and for the local economies in the towns where the colleges are located.

He said, "For a saving of just €1.5 million the Government has decided to cut the teaching grant of €50 per pupil learning Irish at Irish language colleges during the summer months. The effect of this cut will be disastrous.

"These colleges play a huge role in promoting and reviving the Irish language and should be supported in doing so.

"This cut was not foreseen by the colleges as they have already had their literature printed and have advertised next year's courses with their prices.

"With an average of four hundred students per session and three sessions per season the colleges are already facing a loss of €60,000 in support from the Government. With a loss of this amount of money colleges are going to be under serious pressure to balance their books. My fear is that they may be forced to cut the money that they provide to the Mná Tí who open up their homes each year to the thousands of student arriving for Irish classes.

"These colleges also play a vital role in supporting the local economies of the towns in which they are located as thousands of students and their families visit each summer.

"At a minimum the decision to cut this grant should be deferred for a year to so that the costs of literature and advertising are not lost to the colleges. However I am calling on the Government to review this decision with a view to the economic benefits of retaining this grant and to the benefits for the Irish language which these colleges provide.

"This cut is completely contradictory to the public commitment to the Irish language given by the Taoiseach when taking office six months ago." ENDS

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