By Caoimhe Killeen
Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne, has approved funding worth €1.6 million to support Irish language courses at nine colleges and universities across Ireland, with NUI Galway being awarded €500,000 overall for two of its Irish language courses.
The two programmes that were awarded funding were the MA Dioplóma Iarchéime (LéannTeanga), which will receive €60,000 per annum over two years and the MA Dioplóma Iarchéime (Ateangaireacht Chomhdhála/Conference Interpreting) which will receive €190,000 per annum over two years. Other institutions, such as Letterkenny IT and Irish language organisation Gaelchultúr, were also awarded funding.
The funding supports courses that equip students with skills such as writing, commutating and translating in Irish, which will enable them to seek employment opportunities both in Ireland and abroad, particularly at EU level.
The two Masters programmes chosen for extra funding also met commitments under the Official Languages Act 2003, whose primary objective is to “ensure the improved provision of public services through the Irish language”.
It also supports the ongoing work to make Irish an official and full working language of the European Union, as well as a commitment to both the Twenty-Year Strategy and the Five-Year Action plan for the Irish language.
These plans both seek to increase the amount of native Irish speakers, support Gaeltacht areas “where Irish is the household and community language”, as well as aiming to “ensure that Irish becomes more visible in our society, both as a spoken language by our citizens and also in areas such as signage and literature”.
Confirming the funding on a visit to Gaelchultúr, Minister Kyne commented: “A range of courses including Masters or diplomas in translation, in writing and communication, in law and in interpretation will equip students with the skills necessary to take up employment opportunities here at home and abroad”.
The allocation includes funding of €240,000 to ensure that law students can practice through Irish, which is vital so that legal cases can proceed through our native language, €500,000 for courses in language studies and interpretation at NUI Galway and Letterkenny IT and €240,000 to enable the expansion of Irish language organisation, Gaelchultúr’s translation studies qualification.
Speaking to SIN, a representative for Minister Kyne spoke about the importance of this additional finding, stating, “Figures from my department show that 42 students benefitted from courses funded under this scheme in the last academic year. With an increase in funding I expect this number to rise, providing Irish language speakers and students with more career opportunities”.