Support for Irish Colleges' Rally

Conradh na Gaeilge calls on all concerned for the future of the Irish language to show their support for the mná tí who will be attending a rally outside the offices of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in the Forbacha, Co. Galway, at 2.00pm on Wednesday 2 September 2009.

The federation of Irish summer colleges, Comhchoiste na gColáistí Samhraidh (CONCOS), are organising the rally in protest against the recommendation in the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (An Bord Snip Nua) that the annual funding programme for Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge be eliminated over the next two years. This scheme supports the mná tí, the households in the Gaeltacht that take in students attending Irish college courses, and helps reduce the cost of the courses to students.

Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said: "Conradh na Gaeilge believes that a united approach is necessary against Bord Snip Nua's recommendation that Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge be abolished. The Gaeltacht colleges would suffer enormously if this proposal were to be implemented. 26,000 students attended these Irish colleges last year. They are an industry that generates over €50 million a year for the local economy in the Gaeltacht, they provide temporary employment for 2,000 people every summer, not to mention the number of people employed full-time throughout the year. It would be ruinous to the Gaeltacht if such a recommendation were taken on board by the government - this would not be value for money, but a reneging on a state objective of fundamental importance.

"Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí safeguards the living language, strengthens an industry that sustains the Irish-language community in the Gaeltacht, and helps keep the running costs of the summer colleges low enough to ensure that parents throughout the country can send their children on Gaeltacht courses at a reasonable price."

Julian de Spáinn, the Conradh's General Secretary said: "We encourage Conraitheoirí and everyone else in the Irish-language community to unite and support CONCOS's rally on 2 September in the interests of the host families without whom the Irish colleges cannot function, and for the good of the thousands of students who benefit from and enjoy these Irish courses in the Gaeltacht every year."

CONCOS would greatly appreciate the support of the Irish-language community on the day of the rally, and you can contact them at 091 505760 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to show your support and to get more information on the rally. You can also sign an online petition supporting Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge at www.ipetitions.com/petition/gaeltacht-future/ before the end of the month. A delegation of representatives from Irish colleges in the four provinces and from CONCOS will be meeting Minister Éamon Ó Cuív after the rally at 3.00pm.

Conradh na Gaeilge are currently preparing a comprehensive response to the recommendations regarding the Irish language in the Bord Snip Nua Report, and members of Conradh will be contacting their local TDs directly regarding this matter throughout September.

Further information:
Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa
President, Conradh na Gaeilge.
066 7124169 / 087 2901154

Caitlín Neachtain
Development Executive, CONCOS
086 044 8667 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*EDITOR'S NOTE:

CONCOS (Comhchoiste na gColáistí Samhraidh) is a federation of 47 Irish Summer Colleges both inside and outside the main Gaeltachtaí, as well as Residential Colleges in all four provinces. These colleges have been approved by the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The colleges must also adhere to the Constitution and Code of Practice of CONCOS. www.concos.ie

Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community working to promote the language. There are 200 branches of Conradh na Gaeilge and since its foundation in 1893, members of the Conradh have been actively promoting Irish in every aspect of life in Ireland and especially its use in their own areas. Conraitheoirí are at the forefront of campaigns to secure and strengthen the rights of the Irish language community. It is also possible to register as an individual member of the Conradh. www.cnag.ie

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge