The government, has announced the establishment of a new €250,000 fund to enable Irish language students to spend three months living with families in the Gaeltacht, the predominantly Irish speaking areas in the west of the country. Around 100,000 people live in the Gaeltacht which include extensive parts of counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry along the western seaboard – and also parts of counties Cork, Meath and Waterford.
This measure is expected to accommodate up to 175 students as part of the Government’s Action Plan 2018-2022 for the Irish Language, launched in June 2018. This, in turn, supports the 2010-30 Irish Language Strategy which aims to increase the use of Irish as a daily language of communication, to encourage the use of Irish in business and public life and to make Irish more visible in society, for example thorugh signage and literature.
The Minister of State said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to announce this new funding in further supporting third level students across Ireland to further enrich their Irish through spending three months living with Gaeltacht families while they are attending a qualification course in the Gaeltacht… Of course this will also help to further develop the state system’s capacity in attending to the extra demands on services that are provided through Irish at present and in the future.“