Congressional support to continue funding US-Irish scholarship programme

Programme sends US students to Ireland for year of study

A US Congressional committee has weighed in to support another year of US government funding for the George J Mitchell Scholar programme, which sends US students to Ireland for a year of study.

The inclusion of an amendment in legislation passed by the House of Representatives foreign affairs committee this week supports State Department funding for the programme's 2014-2015 academic year.

The State Department, which has funded more than two-thirds of the scheme’s $600,000 (€450,000) annual cost for more than a decade, did not seek funding for the programme in its 2014 budget request. It has committed $435,000 to finance the programme for the coming year when 12 students travel to Ireland.

The US-Ireland Alliance, which runs the programme, said the amendment in support of funding for the programme was introduced by Congressman Bill Keating, a Democrat from Massachusetts. Since 2000, about 150 students have taken year-long postgraduate courses in Irish and Northern Irish third-level institutions.