Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht): Statements
Josepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
I will answer the Deputy's question. First, we recognise that the colleges play a vital part in the social and economic infrastructure of the Gaeltacht, with up to 27,000 students going every summer. My son was due to go this year and is extremely disappointed not to be going. I know it is of major economic value, bringing in approximately €50 million from economic activity in the region. It is regrettable that because of Covid-19 we are not in a position to do much about that.
Under the Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge, my Department provides a subsidy to Gaeltacht households that provide accommodation for students attending Irish language summer colleges in the Gaeltacht and the households also received a payment from these colleges. I know the Minister of State, Senator Kyne, and officials in my Department on a number of occasions have met the college representative organisation, CONCOS, with a view to identifying the financial pressures and points where they must be examined. They are looking at support packages around that sector.
We are aware that it is important and intrinsic to the entirety of the Gaeltacht, not just the mná tí. The Deputy can rest assured that this is on our radar and something on which we are working intensely.