Donegal TD Pearse Doherty is demanding urgent answers from the Department of the An Gaeltacht and the Minister amid rising uncertainty over arrangements for the language assistance scheme ‘Scéim na gCúntoirí Teanga’ as part of the incoming school year.

Deputy Doherty’s comments come as authorities in Gaeltacht schools are reporting that they have been left completely in the dark over what arrangements will be in place for schools partaking in the scheme for 2018/19.

He also stated that there are huge unanswered questions concerning allowances under the scheme and whether or not the funding promised has been provided to the bodies that administer the programme.

Teachta Doherty said: “Over the last few days, as more and more primary schools are preparing to reopen again after the summer holidays, I have received a number of reports from principals, teachers and others voicing their concerns that their schools have received little information on how the new scheme will operate or even the number of hours of support they are to receive.

“This is despite the fact the Minister only a number of months ago announced that he had authorised some €1.02M in funding for Muintearas Teo. and Oidhreacht Chorca Duibhne to administer the new scheme, an increase from the fudning levels allocated the year previous.

“This increased funding was to facilitate the inclusion of a further 32 schools to the scheme, in addition to the 104 schools that took part in the scheme in 2017/18.

“Yet while schools are set to open in the coming days, it’s claimed that there is a real lack of information being provided to schools and the organizations charged with its administration, including over what funding and supports will be made available.

“Furthermore, according to some reports, there are question marks over an apparent difference between the funding that was announced and the amount which is being offered by the Department to Oidhreachta Chorca Duibhne agus Muintearas Teo. to deliver the programme.

“This is simply not good enough and it comes only a year after we saw a great deal of anger over the exclusion of a number of schools from the previous scheme.

“I earlier this week wrote to the Minister to seek clarity on this issue however, I have yet to receive any response from him or the Department.

“I am now calling on the Minister and the Department to provide answers in order to alleviate these fears and to ensure that these supports are made available to schools without delay.”

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