TACA – the charity that raises funds for the Irish language – has joined with Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta (InaG) and Mary’s Gift to come up with a fund of £30,000 to provide six support grants for early years playgroups operating through the medium of Irish.

Mike Breen, is a New Jersey lawyer with family roots in Kerry and Roscommon. He set up Mary’s Gift in memory of his grandmother, Mary Clifford, and for the last seven years the foundation has fundraised in the USA to support the development of Irish language projects in the north of Ireland. Already this year Mary’s Gift has made a significant donation to Gaelcholáiste Dhoire, the newly established Irish medium post-primary based in Dungiven, County Derry.

Pat Keenan from TACA said that this funding was targeting those groups working in Irish medium playgroups without statutory funding. The playgroups are often the gateway for children into the bunscoil, they are a crucial link in the IME chain, providing children with the basic language skills through a play-based curriculum and, importantly, persuading parents of the added value that learning in a second language brings.

TACA will be inviting naíonraí/playgroups to apply for the funding at www.taca.ie. Completed applications are to be received before March 25.