€3.5m Kerry Gaeltacht enterprise centre opened
Over 2,500 students to attend courses at centre worth €7 million to local economy
Nell Ní Shé, Caoimhe Ní Dhubhain, Orla Ní Dhubhain and Marta Ní Loinsigh welcoming guests to the official opening of the new €3.5 million Irish language and enterprise development centre. Photograph: Don MacMonagle
A new Irish language and enterprise development centre in the Kerry Gaeltacht is expected to boost the local economy to the tune of €7m.
Located in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh in the heart of the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht, the €3.5m Lárionad Forbartha Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta will provide a range of Irish language-based activities and courses as well as pre-school and family support services.
Courses held in the centre are expected to attract over 2,500 students this year alone.
Co-funded by Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht and Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne, the centre will also support both new and existing business.
Opening the centre on Friday, Minister of State, Jimmy Deenihan said he was pleased that such a significant investment has been made in the area.
“Since it was founded, the Comharchumann has been organising activities through Irish,” said Minister Deenihan, “and this new centre is a significant accomplishment by the Comharchumann, the local community and Údarás na Gaeltachta, and will assist in further developing and promoting these activities.”
Tomás Mac Gearailt, the Chairperson of Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne, said the Comharchumann “is extremely proud of this development centre”.
“The Lárionad will ensure that there is a permanent facility available in the area that will benefit the community, support the maintenance of the Irish language and provide employment for generations to come,” he said.
He said that 2,500 students will attend courses in the Lárionad this year, and that these courses will be worth €7 million to the Corca Dhuibhne economy.
Chief Executive of Údarás na Gaeltachta Steve Ó Cúláin said the centre would help increase employment with the development of local business.
“Modern enterprise facilities are required in the area and this development now ensures that the business development needs of Corca Dhuibhne are catered for and will help attract more employment to the area.”
Mr Ó Cúláin said Comharchumann had pioneered Irish language activities in the area and that the new centre would strengthen this work.
“The Lárionad will act as the supportive backbone to reinforce Irish as a community language in the area and offer a language haven for native speakers and learners alike for years to come.”