Covid19 Update – Summer 2020 Gaeltacht Courses Cancelled

Dear Student, Parent / Guardian,

I hope this message finds you all well and in good health. We are undoubtedly in unprecedented times. As the global COVID-19 health crisis continues, governments and organisations across the world have taken decisions to cancel and postpone large scale porting, social, cultural and entertainment events.

On Monday, 20th April 2020, the Minister for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and Islands in the south announced that all summer Gaeltacht colleges would be cancelled for this summer. The Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht are the key funder and policy maker around these courses, and are also ultimately responsible for inspecting and recognising health and safety and educational standards in the colleges.

Following this announcement, we are hugely disappointed to be writing to you today, on behalf of the Teelin Managerial Committee, and the entire staff and team of our College, to inform you that this summer’s courses have been cancelled. This is the first time in the long history of our college that our courses have been cancelled. This decision has been made in an attempt to prioritise the health and safety of our students, our staff, our bean an tí’s and the local community.

As you will know, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our students, with our schools, with teachers and with parents, many of whom have supported our college for years and indeed decades. We have been working in recent weeks to ensure we continue to support you during this difficult period. Coláiste Aoidh Mhic Bhricne is a non-profit summer Gaeltacht college. It is managed throughout the year by an entirely voluntary committee, made up of Irish language teachers, local people, and past students, all of whom have invested years of time and work into the development of the college and the courses. The current pandemic, however, makes this work increasingly challenging, and lockdown has had impacts on our ability to carry out previously ‘normal’ tasks, especially around financial services and administration. We thank you in advance for your patience and support as we work through this difficult time. Go raibh maith agaibh.

What happens now?
Unfortunately, due to factors beyond our control, we are currently unable to offer / open registration for our 2021 courses, nor can we process transfer of places from 2020 courses to 2021 courses. We will, therefore, in due course, be working through a refund process for students / parents /guardians, who have paid their deposit or full fees to date. Students / parents / guardians will be entitled to a full refund less a small handling / admin charge of £7.50 / €8. This small amount helps us to cover admin charges, handling charges, bank, online, currency and other charges that we have already processed this year. We have worked hard over recent weeks to keep this figure as low as possible.* The College will not make any profit from this.

How can I request this refund?
Due to the amount of refunds we will be processing, and taking into account some of the limits on our normal working / financial procedures, to help us out, we ask you request for your refund via email with the following information:

  • Please use your name as the subject of the email
    In the email list the following information:
    Student’s name and parent / guardian name
    The course(A, B or C) the student is registered on
    Student’s school
    Total amount paid to date
    PayPal email address (to be used for refund)
    If you do not have PayPal, include your bank account number / sort code

How long will my refund take?
Paypal is the preferred payment method, and is the method we use to take payments on our website. Paypal refunds are also quicker. We will therefore be prioritising PayPal refunds. This may take between 4-6 weeks from us receiving your refund request email. If you wish to request a refund via bank transfer, this process will take between 6-8 weeks. We will not be processing refund requests via cheque at this time.

What happens if we paid our deposit / fee directly through our school?
If you paid directly through your school, and we have received your deposit, we can refund you directly. In some circumstances, deposits may still be in your school, and in that case, the school will have to refund you directly. If you are not sure, please contact us and we can let you know.

Scholarships & Bursaries (2020 & 2021)
Many of our students will have been in receipt of a scholarship and bursary for the upcoming 2020 courses. Scholarships are not awarded directly by the college. They are bursaries/ grants awarded by other organisations to help cover some of the fees. Every organisation (Líofa; County Council; GAA) will be in the process of working out their system for their 2020 scholarships. We ask that you contact the awarding body directly to ensure your 2020 scholarship can be used on our 2021 courses. A scholarship does not guarantee you a place on a 2021 course, and you will be required to register as normal when registration opens later in the year.

2021 Courses
All of the Gaeltacht colleges in Donegal and indeed across Ireland will have a tough summer ahead. The cancellation of our courses will have a huge knock-on impact on our bean an tí’s, on our local economies and on our own annual development. Between now and the summer we will be working hard to ensure we can make Teelin 2021 a reality, to not only keep our doors open, but to improve our courses and our facilities, to provide the best Gaeltacht experience possible for our students. We hope to announce the 2021 course at the end of this summer, and hope to open registration in early Autumn. We will email each 2020 registered student directly with course information and a link to our courses.

Support Us
Like so many others, this current crisis has created huge challenges for our college. We had planned on carrying our essential upkeep and maintenance work on our college this year, alongside additional development of resources and equipment. If you would like to support us during this time, you can donate to our college at Once more, we hope you are all keeping well and staying at home. Teelin will be there on the other side!>

Ní neart go cur le chéile, Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh
Chair, Managerial Committee
Coláiste Aoidh Mhic Bhricne, Teileann

*If you would like to discuss this decision with us further please contact us. We will do our very best to take any exceptional circumstances into account.