A scholarship program that sends select groups of American students to pursue graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland has been denied funding by the Northern Irish government.
DEL minister Stephen Farry said in a statement that the funding had been withdrawn “"in light of the current budget situation."
The George J. Mitchell scholarship – named for the former US senator who brokered the 1998 peace accord in Northern Ireland – began in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement, with the first awardees graduating in 2001. It is run by the US-Ireland Alliance.
The security of the program’s future has been dealt a significant blow in recent years, most notably when current US Secretary of State John Kerry declined to renew the funding the US government had provided when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.
According to the US-Ireland Alliance, the program costs $600,000 to fund per year. In the past, the United States government had provided $485,000 and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland paying $100,000 and the remainder coming from donations.
Trina Vargo, the president of the US-Ireland Alliance who has, in the past, made controversial remarks about the Irish American community, told the BBC that the Mitchell Scholarship would not likely continue past 2015 unless some funding is restored or more private donors are found.