Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Paul Givan was 'warned of Líofa cut impact' before controversial decision

Former DUP Communities Minister Paul Givan was warned of the impact of cutting an Irish language bursary before he took the controversial decision.

In December, moments ahead of the Christmas Assembly break, Mr Givan's department announced the £55,000 cut for the Líofa Gaeltacht Bursary Scheme.

It gave people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to travel to parts of Donegal where Irish is predominately the main language.

The decision to cut the funding sparked outrage and was cited by Sinn Fein as one of the reasons it walked out of government the following month.

Three weeks after the decision the minister reinstated the money saying he was able to find the money needed.

The Detail investigative website has obtained a ministerial briefing paper prepared for Mr Givan by a senior Department of Communities official using Freedom of Information.

It advised that the majority of applicants were children from deprived backgrounds whose parents could not otherwise afford the trip. It also recommended reducing the size of the grant as opposed to ending the scheme.

“Minister has commented 'No scheme'," was the response six days after the five-page report was submitted.

Both the DUP and the Department for Communities did not comment to The Detail. They have also been approached for a response by the Belfast Telegraph.

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