It’s dropped by a third in the past five years.

© Copyright Oliver Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The number of Bean an Tís has dropped by almost a third in the past five years.

Figures from the Department of the Gaeltacht show that 495 host families provided places for students to stay last year. That’s a 32% drop from 655 families in 2017.

The issue is examined in an episode of Iniúchadh — Mná Tí on TG4 tomorrow night.

Changing social habits, the increasing age profile of mná tí and insufficient pay for keeping students are just some of the reasons cited for the drop in numbers. Some Irish colleges now have waiting lists for accommodation with The Connaught Telegraph reporting that Coláiste Acla in Mayo has a waiting list of 250 students.

Investigative reporter with Iniúchadh TG4, Kevin Magee, says the pandemic had an impact on families putting themselves forward:

Iniúchad.h – Mná Tí is on TG4 on Wednesday, April 19th, at 9.30pm