Pól Ó Muirí
Minister for the Gaeltacht, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has approved €21,900 over three years to fund the teaching of Irish in Beijing Foreign Studies University in China. Beijing is the first university in China to seek funding to teach Irish and joins over 30 centres outside of Ireland which have Irish-language courses as part of their academic curriculum. The university has a policy of teaching all official languages of the European Union – of which Irish is one.
Ó Cuív said that the demand for Irish-language funding throughout the world was “a clear indicator not only of the interest within the academic community in Irish as one of the world’s oldest vernacular languages, but also as proof of the opportunities for Irish speakers globally. The Irish language is a valuable export. Studying Irish in their own universities is often the first step in a lifelong interest in both the language and the country’s wider culture, and it is wonderful to see students from all over the world coming to the Gaeltacht to continue their studies.”