Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South and Chair of the Oireachtas Education Committee, Fiona O’Loughlin, has said the Government commitment to reinstate funding for Gaeltacht placements for the school year of 2020/21, is cold comfort for the students who will be participating in the placement this summer.

She said, “Having recently met with a number of students who are under-going teacher training it is very clear that they are under immense financial pressure. They are expected, as part of their course, to attend a Gaeltacht school for one month. The fee currently stands at €750 and this is just the beginning.

“The cost does not include travel and associated costs and it certainly doesn’t take into account the fact that these students can’t take up seasonal or part-time work during the summer as many other students do.

“I fully acknowledge that budget 2020 committed to its reinstatement, but for the year 2020/21 – that offers little consolation for the students attending this summer.

“Furthermore, postgraduate students or students who have completed their course through the popular Hibernia college will not be entitled to apply for the fund in 2020/21.

“When undergoing their placement, student teachers have to pay their own travel and subsistence costs, they have a significant financial burden placed on them and I think this must be realised and addressed,” she concluded.