Monday 26 September 2016

The cúpla focal bringing an economic boost

Published 29/06/2016 | 02:30

he upsurge in visitors in June is particularly welcome, because by then the tourism season is not yet in full swing. Stock image
he upsurge in visitors in June is particularly welcome, because by then the tourism season is not yet in full swing. Stock image

The renewed upsurge in the number of students will be welcomed by Gaeltacht communities in Co Waterford and across the western seaboard.

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During the Celtic Tiger years, the summer colleges 'industry' was said to be worth over €50m a year.

Each family that accommodates a student receives a government subsidy of €9.50 per night, as well as payments from the colleges.

Depending on how many students she accommodates in her home, a bean an tí can earn up to €15,000 per year in income from the summer colleges.

The sudden summer influx also brings in income for local food suppliers, student supervisors, shops, transport providers and teachers.

Ciara Ní Ghairbhi, of Coláistí Chorca Dhuibhne, estimates the language colleges are worth over €7m to the economy of west Kerry every year.

The upsurge in visitors in June is particularly welcome, because by then the tourism season is not yet in full swing.

Many parents visit their teenage children on a Sunday during the course, frequently taking them out to local restaurants or nearby attractions. This also adds substantially to local tourism revenue.Between managers, principals, teachers and third-level student assistants, there are believed up to 2,000 people employed nationally in the industry.

In addition, there are the 670 'Mná Tí', 200 bus drivers and an unknown number of others whose livelihoods depend on the summer college business.

Liam Suipéal, chairman of the colleges' umbrella body CONCOS, says: "The colleges not only bring economic benefits to the Gaeltacht. They also help to keep the language alive."

Irish Independent

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