GAELTACHT schools are to have language assistants for an extra six weeks in the school year.
Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Seán Kyne has approved a grant of up to €3.6m in total for a three-year period under the Language Assistants Scheme.
The extra investment will benefit schools participating in the Gaeltacht education policy and enable them to have language assistants for an extra six weeks during the school year from now on (equivalent to 32 weeks in total). In the case of post-primary schools, 31 weeks will apply as a shorter school-year applies to them.
As a result, language assistants will be able to start working at the beginning of the school year instead of later in the year, as has happened until now.
The measure will come into effect at the beginning of the new school year in autumn.
Benefitting Mayo schools include SN Chorr Chloch, Béal an Mhuirthead, SN Chroí Mhuire gan Smál Ceathrú Thaidhg, SN Bhreandáin, Béal an Mhuirthead, An Eachléim, Scoil Náisiúnta Naomh Pádraig, Sáile, Acaill, SN Tóin re Gaoithe, Acaill, SN Naomh Seosamh, Bun an Churraigh, Acaill, SN Ros Dumhach, SN an Triain Láir, Tuar Mhic Éadaigh, SN Ghleann na Muaidhe, SN Dhumha Thuama, SN. Pholl an tSómais, Our Lady's Secondary School, St. Brendan's College, Coláiste Chomáin, and Coláiste Muire, Tuar Mhic Éadaigh.
An increase in funding has been approved to the two organisations in charge of administering the scheme on behalf of the department - to equate to an increase of €32,400 for Muintearas, which is in charge of 108 schools under the scheme, and €9,424 for Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne which deals with 28 schools under the scheme on behalf of the department.
Said Minister Kyne: “113 language assistants employed in 135 Gaeltacht schools are carrying out meaningful work under the Language Assistants Scheme, which benefits the Irish language and the Gaeltacht community. The announcement of this extra support is another step forward which will benefit both the Gaeltacht education policy and the language planning process. It also shows the commitment of the government to support the implementation of the Action Plan for the Irish Language, of which the language planning process is a vital part.”