Friday 18 August 2017

Axing of bursary scheme seized on by Sinn Féin

An Dream Dearg, a network of Irish language activists protest against cuts to Irish language bursaries, outside at the Department of Communities in Belfast. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
An Dream Dearg, a network of Irish language activists protest against cuts to Irish language bursaries, outside at the Department of Communities in Belfast. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The axing of the Irish-language bursary scheme Líofa was a political football seized on by Sinn Féin.

The bursaries helped Irish-language students fund the costs of visiting the Gaeltacht region of Donegal.

A protest was held in Belfast against the cut, supported by An Dream Dearg (The Red Crowd). Supporters include boxers Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and a number of Sinn Féin TDs.

Communities Minister Paul Givan, who cut the grant in December, told the BBC's 'Stephen Nolan Show' the Irish language had always received more public money than Ulster Scots. Last year, Foras na Gaeilge, which promotes Irish language and culture, received £2.59m (€2.96m) while the Ulster Scots Agency was awarded £1.76m (€2m) in funding.

The DUP's U-turn was explained by Mr Givan who said he had "identified the necessary funding to advance" the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme. But he insisted the decision was "not political".

Irish language group Pobal welcomed the move to restore funding.

Irish Independent

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