This fall, the new Irish prime minster and our own Canadian prime minster have been both in Ottawa and Dublin celebrating our close cultural ties. In fact, both of them referred to Newfoundland as being the most Irish place in the entire world outside of Ireland. Furthermore, we have an Irish name Talamh an Eisc (meaning the land of the fishing grounds.)
But the reality is that Memorial University not only does not have an Irish studies department, it does not offer Irish language as credit course for a degree, and furthermore this academic year no Irish language course is offered.
For a number of years we were really pleased that the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF) to support young Irish teachers came to this province and filled in this void. This year we are being informed “that due to circumstances beyond their control” that this organization, ICUF, could not provide for one Irish language teacher in all of Ireland to come to Newfoundland.
Meanwhile, other universities in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec have Irish language programs.