Irish language youth clubs protest funding decision

A community led protest has called for the Education Authority to reverse funding withdrawal to Irish language services. Picture by Mal McCann

IRISH language campaigners have staged a protest after being denied public funding.

Hundreds gathered outside the Education Authority (EA) in Belfast yesterday amid fears youth clubs could shut.

Some staged a sit down protest inside the building before supporters handed over individual letters of protest.

They claim four Irish language youth clubs in Belfast are facing closure after they were unsuccessful in their application for public funds.

The EA's Extended Youth Provision Scheme aims to increase access to youth clubs in disadvantaged areas.

The EA had previously advised that money for extended provision positions across the north would end in March due to the lack of an agreed budget, but a 'cash allocation' from the Department for Education means operations can continue until July 31.

Projects under threat included outreach and street based work, weekend youth provision and work with young people in juvenile detention centres.

EA chief executive Gavin Boyd last night said a panel assessed applications from 65 youth providers, of which 13 were not approved.

"We are very aware of the needs of young people in the communities to which this scheme is directed. As some of the funding has not been allocated, we will now open the process up to a second round of applications," he said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access