Quinn says more language schools may close

Tuesday 20 May 2014 22.27
An English language college in Cork has become the fifth to close in recent weeks
An English language college in Cork has become the fifth to close in recent weeks

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has said there might be "one or two more closures" of English language schools in the wake of the latest school shutting down in Cork.

Mr Quinn said there was fairly clear evidence to suggest that a minority of schools were in effect acting as a front to give access to the Irish labour market.

He said private-sector schools are not properly and fully regulated and said authorities were taking action to have a quality education mark for all schools in the private sector.

He said he brought the matter to the attention of the Cabinet today.

Earlier today, it emerged that Allied Irish College in Cork city, which catered for 60 foreign students, has closed down.

Its owner also owned Millennium College in Dublin, which closed suddenly on Friday.

Rezaul Haque told RTÉ News by telephone that all 60 students at AIC had only recently begun their courses and that the fees they had paid would be returned.

He said that most students attending Millennium College were not owed money and were not encountering visa problems as a result of its sudden closure.

However, this is strongly disputed by students who have spoken to RTÉ News.

A group from Uruguay said today they began their year-long studies just last month and had paid around €1,000 each.

They say they came to Ireland to learn English and want classes.

Mr Haque said financial problems caused by the colleges' suspension from an immigration register were to blame for the closure.

He vehemently denied allegations of irregularities regarding class attendance and accreditation at Millennium College.