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Posted: 05 September 2008

>> As Gaeilge

Government funds graduate training in Irish language skills

The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, through the Higher Education Authority (HEA), has awarded funding of €3 million to the UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics for the introduction of specific graduate programmes in Irish language skills.

UCD will roll out a suite of Irish language graduate diploma and masters degrees beginning with translation and editing this autumn and extending to administration, interpreting and law next year. These courses will serve the needs of both the public and private sectors in fostering the Irish language as a competent working language.

“This funding confirms the State’s commitment to the Irish language” said Professor Liam Mac Mathúna, Head of School.  The aim of the initiative is to address specific Irish language needs in the context of the Official Languages Act but according to Professor Mac Mathúna, it will also support the status of Irish as the 23rd official language of the EU. 

“Since the allocation of official and working status to Irish in January 2007, all key EU legislation is translated into Irish. Irish is now interpreted at ministerial council meetings and European Parliament plenary sessions and on a practical level, applicants for jobs with EU institutions can list Irish as one of the two official EU languages required.”

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, between 20 and 30 translators are required across various EU institutions.  “The opportunities for graduates coming out of these new programmes are excellent." Professor Mac Mathúna added.

Apart from its traditional focus on research, the UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics has placed a strong emphasis on professional language skills.  “We have a growing number of students interested in both streams: research and applied language” said Professor Mac Mathúna.

Building on the success of the School’s master’s programme centring on the media and communication, MA: Scríobh agus Cumarsáid na Gaeilge and its Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge Fheidhmeach (Diploma in Applied Irish), the new suite of graduate programmes will be offered under the aegis of Lárionad de Bhaldraithe do Léann na Gaeilge (de Bhaldraithe Centre for Irish Language Scholarship).  Where required, the new programmes include work placements as part of their curriculum.

 “And at undergraduate level we have seen a surge in student numbers.  The number of first year students taking Teanga na Gaeilge modules rose to 220 last year.  We have also introduced ab initio Irish for students with no knowledge of the language and bunchloch (foundation) level Irish for students with an interest but not full fluency in the language.”

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Government funds graduate training in Irish language skills