No Irish language courses will be run in the Gaeltacht this Summer, as a result of Covid-19.

The Department with responsibility for the Gaeltacht says that, following consultation with health authorities and in the interests of protecting public health, this Summer's Irish language courses are being cancelled.

Up to 27,000 students annually attend one of the 42 Gaeltacht Summer colleges - many of which are located along the Western seaboard.

The Department says it recognises that this decision is a major blow to Gaeltacht areas, and to the many thousands of students who had looked forward to attending course over the Summer, but public health is their priority.

Colaiste Uisce in Elly Bay, near Belmullet, usually caters for about 2,000 students over the Summer months, but its doors will remain closed this Summer, impacting on staff, seasonal staff, and the wider community.

Managing director of Colaiste Uisce Ciarán Ó'Murchú says that while the decision has been taken to protect Gaeltacht families as well as the thousands of students and teachers attending the courses, it will have significant financial implications.