Thursday, 8 October 2020
Bille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú), 2019: An Dara Céim - Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2019: Second Stage
D'oscail Coláiste Eoghain Uí Chomhraídhe i gCarraig an Chabhaltaigh i gContae an Chláir mar choláiste samhraidh don Ghaeilge sa bhliain 1908, ach bhí ar lucht bainistíochta an choláiste é a dhúnadh dhá bhliain ó shin mar thoradh ar easpa maoinithe. I mí an Mhárta na bliana seo, rinne bord bainistíochta an choláiste iarracht airgead a fháil ón gciste um athghiniúint agus forbairt tuaithe, ach theip orthu. Déanfaidh baill an bhoird iarracht nua an mhí seo chugainn agus tá súil agam go ndéanfaidh an tAire a dícheall chun an tacaíocht fíorthábhachtach seo a thabhairt dóibh. Tá sé mar phlean acu, agus iad ag dul ar aghaidh, an coláiste a úsáid le haghaidh ranganna Gaeilge mar is gnách i rith an tsamhraidh agus mar shuíomh fiontraíochta agus turasóireachta i rith na míonna eile. Níor dhún Coláiste Eoghain Uí Chomhraídhe ach uair amháin thar na blianta, agus b'shin nuair a dhóigh na Dúchrónaigh an foirgneamh. Tá súil agam go láidir go gcabhróidh an tAire leis an gcoláiste seo.
I speak about Coláiste Eoghain Uí Chomhraídhe in Carrigaholt in County Clare. It was founded as an Irish college by Conradh na Gaeilge way back in 1908, and during its many years of existence it only had to close once. That was in 1920, when the building was partially burnt by the Black and Tans. To the immense dismay of local people in west Clare and the Irish language movement across the county, Coláiste Eoghain Uí Chomhraídhe had to close its doors once again in 2018. This time, it closed due to a lack of funding, which has been the enemy of so many organisations.
In March this year, Coláiste Eoghain Uí Chomhraídhe applied for rural regeneration and redevelopment funding, but its application was unsuccessful. It is planned to make a second application for funding next month and I hope the Minister of State with responsibility for the Gaeltacht will make the effort possible to support that case. The plan for the future of the coláiste is a realistic and sensible one. Management envisages the coláiste operating as an Irish college, as normal, in June, July and August. For the remainder of the year, it would operate as a centre in west Clare to be used interchangeably for enterprise and tourism activities. It even has the potential to be a three-star hostel providing accommodation in the extremities of west Clare.
There are, therefore, many new uses for the coláiste beyond what was initially conceived in 1908. Funding for the Irish college in Carrigaholt is not just about protecting our native language. It is also about jobs and the rural economy in west Clare. I ask that the Minister of State do his very best for Coláiste Eoghain Uí Chomhraídhe.