SDLP West Belfast representative Paul Doherty has urged the Education Authority to reverse a funding cut to Irish language youth clubs.
All 24 Irish-medium youth clubs across the North will lose out on funding after the Education Authority said current funding could not be integrated into their new funding scheme.
Mr Doherty was speaking ahead of a meeting to discuss the issue and its impact on Glór na Móna youth club in west Belfast on Thursday evening.
SDLP Education Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan is also engaging with those affected.
Mr Doherty said:
“The news that Glór na Móna is set to lose 98% of its funding is causing huge concern in our community. This youth club plays an important role in engaging with young people in west Belfast and they will be devastated by the loss of five staff members as a result of this cut.
“We should be investing in services like this, not making cuts. As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic our young people will need more support than ever as things return to normal and services like this are key to helping young people navigate their way through life.
“It’s stark that 160 young people will be affected by the loss of this service, with no similar Irish-medium youth services available in the area. We know how beneficial speaking multiple languages can be for people in other aspects of their life and it also helps foster the continued growth of the Irish language in our community and right across the North.
“I will be attending this public meeting to show my support for Glór na Móna and contacting the Education Authority on behalf of them and all the organisations affected by this funding cut. Youth work makes a huge contribution to our society and we cannot allow it and our young people to be negatively impacted because of these cuts.”