The Government is to pay out €4.7m to Gaeltacht communities impacted by the forced closure of Irish language schools this summer.

Seán Kyne, the Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, said the one-off stabilisation fund is an emergency measure to ensure the longer-term viability of the sector.

It was announced last month that all Gaeltacht summer schools were being cancelled in light of the ongoing pandemic.

Groups representing Irish languages colleges had called for financial support because of the impact it would have on the future operation of their schools.

The closure will have a significant financial impact on communities which would usually welcome students from early June onwards.

The majority of courses are offered in Galway and Donegal. But students also travel to Mayo, Kerry, Waterford, Meath and Cork.

Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge - the Irish language learners scheme - is overseen by the department, which works with households accommodating students. 

Under the financial package announced this evening, up to €3.1m will be directed at supporting the college authorities to refund fees and deposits to parents, while a further €1.6m is being allocated to offset losses incurred by up to 700 householders who normally keep students.