NUI Galway today (Friday 29th April 2005,) announced that a new €35 million Irish language institute Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is to be developed on campus at the University and at a number of Gaeltacht centres. The national institute was launched by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cúiv. The institute will pioneer the provision of third level education through the medium of Irish and will provide a range of courses through Irish including many of the disciplines provided in the Arts and Science Faculties.
The launch of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is central to NUI Galway's strategy of creating an exemplary bilingual campus at the University and is in line with the priorities outlined in the University's Strategic Plan (2003-2008). The creation of the institute reconfirms NUI Galway's commitment to the promotion of the Irish language. Funding to support this initiative will be raised through a range of sources.
The national institute, the first of its kind in Ireland, will provide university programmes, engage in research, provide consultancy and be a centre of excellence for Irish language research and planning, in co-operation with other institutions. In addition to its centre on campus at NUI Galway, the University will further develop its three outreach Gaeltacht centres, two in the Galway Gaeltacht (Carna and An Cheathrú Rua) and one in Donegal (Gaoth Dobhair).
Commenting on the initiative, the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht affairs, Éamon Ó Cúiv TD. said, "NUI Galway is to be congratulated for its strategic and innovative approach to the provision of third-level education through the medium of Irish. The creation of the Institute is vital for the continued promotion of the Irish language in Ireland. Equally, NUI Galway has played a key role in bringing Irish to the regions, through its outreach centres in Gaeltacht areas, it is bringing the University to the people and empowering those communities in a sustainable and meaningful way."
Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway added: "This University has a long and proud tradition of supporting Gaeltacht and Irish language communities and the Acadamh will strengthen and invigorate our commitment to provide sustainable development of the Irish language. The creation of an exemplary bilingual campus ensures our ongoing commitment to the Irish language over the longer term.
Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge will contribute to the social, economic, cultural and linguistic life of the communities in which it is based at a local level while broadening and enriching education provision at National and International levels. As it expands, the range of courses developed into areas such as information technology, communications, education and translation studies, will be extended."
At present, an tAcadamh provides Masters and Higher Diploma programmes in Translation Studies and Applied Communications, as well as part-time and full-time courses in information technology, radio and television skills. An tAcadamh provides a Diploma in Irish in 22 centres throughout the country, attended by more than 850 students this year.
Peadar Mac an Iomaire, Príomhfheidhmeannach (CEO) of an tAcadamh announced that a range of new programmes would be developed over the coming years and that over 1,500 students are expected to participate in courses at the Institute. He thanked Minister Ó Cuív for the financial backing received by the University from the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs for the promotion of university education through Irish as well as the maintenance of Irish in Gaeltacht areas. He also paid tribute to Údarás na Gaeltachta and FÁS for their assistance in the work of the University's Gaeltacht Centres over the years.