Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (359)

Patricia Ryan

Ceist:

359. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht if the scheme to allow more students from DEIS schools to gain a scholarship to attend the Gaeltacht will be extended; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27335/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Media)

The Deputy may be aware that my Department, via Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge, subvents the cost of attending summer college in Gaeltacht regions. Under the terms of the scheme, the Department provides a subsidy, currently worth €10 per day (equivalent to € 220 per student for a three week course) which benefits over 26,000 students a year while staying in any of the c.700 Gaeltacht households approved under the scheme. This represents a State investment of over €4m annually in the Irish summer colleges sector, which forms a critical part of the Gaeltacht economy and is estimated in overall terms to be worth €50m annually.

In addition to providing and administering this practical assistance, the Department also administers a number of further specific measure under the scheme, including DEIS Gaeltachta. Under this measure which was introduced in 2019, 50 scholarships are made available annually - worth c. €850 each - to qualifying students attending DEIS post-primary schools. The scheme is administered on behalf of the Department by Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board.

Due to COVID-19, it was not possible to provide the scholarships this year following the cancellation, on 20th April 2020, of Irish summer college courses by my Department in the interests of protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Subject to public health advice in relation to the ongoing pandemic, it is envisaged that the provision of scholarships will resume as soon as it is safe to do so. The number of scholarships made available will be kept under review in the context of the demand for same and the financial resources available to my Department.