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08th May 2021

Disappointment as summer Gaeltacht courses are cancelled once again

Trine Jensen-Burke

summer Gaeltacht courses cancelled

Cancelled again.

Earlier this week, organisers of Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht expressed disappointment that summer courses for school children have been cancelled once again because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The popular courses usually attract over 27.000 students every year, and are, of course, of massive financial importance to the Gaeltacht areas.

Summer 2021 will mark the second successive year that the courses have been called off, and representatives have now said the sector needs urgent Government support if it is to resume next year.

Most of the Irish language colleges are based in the west of Ireland but with others in Meath, Cork and Waterford, and the summer courses are estimated to be worth some €50 million a year to the Gaeltacht areas.

Minister of State at the Department of the Gaeltacht, Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers, announced the cancellation of this year’s courses earlier this week, and was keen to point out the decisions to keep them closed again this summer was a result of an “extensive consultation process undertaken with the Irish language summer colleges sector.”

The main concern being over the potential risks for Gaeltacht families and communities arising from hosting large numbers of students from around the country.

“We are conscious of the consequences of this decision for the Gaeltacht economy, which is reliant on the summer courses,” Chambers said.

“For this reason, we will evaluate the impact of this development on the sector with a view to progressing an appropriate stabilisation package.”