As expected, this summer's Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht have been cancelled.
The decision has been confirmed by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
There are 42 Gaeltacht summer colleges, several of them in County Donegal.
There have already been calls for support packages for the colleges themselves, and for the Mna Tí, who look after students and are regarded by many as the backbone of the system.
Conradh na Gaeilge will be meeting with Minister for State Seán Kyne tomorrow to discuss the ramifications of the decision.
Conradh na Gaeilge statement -
Gaeltacht Summer Colleges postponed during health pandemic
Conradh na Gaeilge calls for certainty around support package for bean an tí’s, summer colleges and Gaeltacht communities
Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands has announced the postponement of this summer’s Gaeltacht college courses. The official statement, however, did not mention any support packages for the hundreds of bean an tí that keep students each year, nor for the local Gaeltacht colleges or communities.
Deir Dr Niall Comer, Uachtarán Chonradh na Gaeilge:
"As disappointing as this will be for so many young people, and indeed local communities, it is only right to prioritise the health of students, staff, and local families during these exceptional times. This is undoubtedly a huge blow for all those involved in the running of the summer colleges and for all those who depend on the income from the colleges throughout the year. For years whilst local Gaeltacht communities campaigned for support, summer colleges remained the steadfast heartbeat of hundreds of towns and villages across the West of Ireland. Now is the time for the Government to recognise that central role and to support those who will suffer most from this news; local families and local colleges. Those stakeholders need certainty now more than ever.”
Deir Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha, Bainisteoir Abhcóideachta agus Leas-Ardrúnaí Chonradh na Gaeilge:
“This will have a far reaching effect on the entire Gaeltacht in the coming weeks, months and years. Colleges are now faced with refunding deposits, with organising new dates for 2021 and securing students and families to make that possible. Colleges will now face annual and ongoing bills without their core income of student fees and will need support and assistance to ensure their buildings remain open, insurance paid and staff are paid. If colleges are to re-open in 2021 they will need support. It is that simple. These Gaeltacht colleges are referenced in almost every Gaeltacht language plan as central economic and linguistic hubs. The State, responsible for those plans, and for the implementation of their 20 Year Irish language Strategy, now have to address these issues and ensure colleges and communities are not abandoned, but instead, are supported and backed in the coming period.”
Conradh na Gaeilge will be meeting with Minister for State Seán Kyne tomorrow (Wednesday 22/4/20) to discuss this, amongst other issues.