THE Bean an Tí could be a thing of the past, if the current shortage being experienced in Ballyvourney is reflected elsewhere.
It was announced this week that the lack of the traditional Irish-speaking home-makers will mean an end to Ballyvourney’s 42-year-old Irish language courses.
As the economy shows signs of recovery, Gael Linn have had to cancel their Irish courses because they can’t find enough Mná Tí to take care of the secondary school students who come to the Gaeltacht to improve their ‘cúpla focail’.
The courses – which ran over two three-week periods – were largely regarded as an important stream of revenue for the local economy.
However, Jamie Ó Tuama, manager of Coláiste Bhaile Bhuirne, said they will not go ahead this summer because they don’t have enough accommodation. He said that ten years ago they would have had 87 beds available per course. ‘Last year it was 40, but with the loss of three Bean an Tí from our panel for different reasons, it would not have been worthwhile this year.’
He admitted the courses provided a healthy income for the area, with students from Dublin, Limerick and Clare.
‘Parents would have visited their children and stayed locally, eaten locally etc.’ He was keen to point out that should additional accommodation become available, the courses would be reinstated.