Irish language funding ‘should be restored’: SF

Communities Minister Paul Givan denied 'snubbing' the Irish language
Communities Minister Paul Givan denied 'snubbing' the Irish language

Sinn Féin has called on Communities Minister Paul Givan to immediately restore funding for an Irish language bursary scheme.

The DUP minister has removed £50,000 bursaries from the Líofa Gaeltacht initiative, a means tested scheme which enabled those on lower incomes to attend summer Irish language classes in a range of locations across Donegal.

The Líofa programme was set up by former culture minister, Carál Ní Chuilín and supports about 100 people each year.

Sinn Fein Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile said the removal of the burseries “shows further disregard for the Irish language”.

He added: “This scheme has helped people from right across the community and is not only an attack on the Irish language but on Irish culture and identity as well.

“Since it was set up by my party colleague Carál Ní Chuilín, Líofa has been hugely successful and has helped thousands of people learn and improve their Irish.

“These people are from every political, religious, social and cultural background.”

Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile urged the minister to reverse his decision, claiming the cut was denying young people from disadvantaged backgrounds “a modest but vitally important support service”.

The Department for Communities has stated that due to “efficiency savings” they will not be offering the bursaries in 2017.