Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Ceisteanna (1111)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

1111. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if full refunds will be made in respect of the cancellation of Gaeltacht courses in view of the cancellation of same for summer 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11495/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Deputy will be pleased to learn that I recently approved a once-off emergency measure worth €4.7m to support the stabilisation of the Gaeltacht Irish summer college sector.

The measure follows the cancellation, on 20th April 2020, of Irish summer college course by my Department in the interests of protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the stabilisation package which has been approved, up to €3.1m will be directed at supporting the college authorities to refund fees/deposits to parents in full while a further €1.6m is being allocated towards supporting the c. 700 certified Gaeltacht householders who normally keep students attending one of the recognised 42 colleges during the summer months.

The stabilisation fund is being provided as a specific once-off measure with the overall objective of ensuring the ongoing viability of the sector - thereby enabling it to continue to contribute to the systematic effort being made to support the language and Gaeltacht regions in line with the overarching objectives of the Government’s 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 and the accompanying Plean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022 (5-Year Action Plan for the Irish Language 2018-2022).

My Department will continue to engage with the sector, namely the relevant college authorities as well as the Gaeltacht households recognised under the Department's Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge in order to administer the application process over the coming weeks.