American and Canadian students will visit Ireland during the summer months to attend intensive Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht.
THE GOVERNMENT IS to fund US and Canadian students to travel to the Gaeltacht to learn Irish.
Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh has announced today that he has sanctioned funding of €726,604 to support the teaching of the Irish language in America and Canada.
As part of the fund, which is part of the Fulbright Commission and the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF), awards are to be given to American and Canadian students who visit Ireland during the summer months to attend intensive Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht.
“This funding awards American and Canadian students the wonderful opportunity to spend some time in the Gaeltacht regions during the summer learning the Irish language, gaining an understanding of the richness of the language and also getting a taste of local life,” said the minister.
Strengthen bonds between countries
He added that it is hoped the Irish language programmes will strengthen the strong cultural connection between the United States of America and Canada.
The minister said the funding will also be used help Irish language teaching assistants from Ireland to attend third level institutions in America and Canada.
In addition, the Subsidiary Fund for Third Level Institutions Abroad, which was set up in 2006 to assist the provision of Irish language courses as part of the academic programme in universities abroad, will continue.
Thus far, over 40 institutions around the world have availed themselves of the scheme – in America, Canada, Australia, China and Europe – to make Irish language classes available to their students.
McHugh said the schemes “will help to inform the academic community in America and Canada about the Irish language and its rich heritage as one of the oldest vernaculars in Europe. As a result of this, the Irish language will have equal status to other European languages being taught abroad”.