Students continue to be left without their money and without answers following the closure of English language school

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Students continue to be left without their money and without answers following the closure of English language school

Six months have passed since the International House Galway abruptly closed, and more than a dozen English language students continue to be left without the money they paid for classes that were never provided. Most of the affected students are from visa-required countries where the money that they paid for course fees is worth considerably more. ICOS spoke to several of the affected students and compiled the following accounts:

Berkan from Turkey said: I just wanted to learn English in Ireland, but I lost my money. 1 euro is 21 Turkish lira in our country, but they just scammed the Turkish people and they say they can't pay. Why won't these scammers be punished in Ireland?’

Another Turkish student who preferred not to be named told ICOS: ‘I made a payment in April 2022, and I've been waiting for a refund for about 1.5 years. I'm very aggrieved. I really need this money. There was almost no person to communicate with. No one helps in Ireland. I am in financial trouble that we can no longer bear it.’

Mustafa from Yemen explained to ICOS how the financial loss has had a detrimental effect on his mental health: ‘The issue has caused me a lot of problems in my life, so I can no longer focus on my studies, as well as my mental health. I feel depressed as a result of the constant thinking.’

ICOS also spoke with international recruitment agencies who have been trying to recover money on behalf of their prospective student clients:

Kevin Hunt, a British Council Certified Agent and CEO of education agency Traveledex, comments: ‘The apparent lack of control over the running of this language school has highlighted a problem for agents and students in ensuring the payment of their course fees is safe and caused considerable stress and worry about whether any refund will be forthcoming. It also means we need to consider other schools that we partner with in Ireland to ensure similar problems do not occur.’

The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) believes that not enough has been done to help certain affected students, who in some cases have lost their life savings. ICOS’ Executive Director, Laura Harmon, said the following:

‘The affected students of the IH Galway closure have been left without answers and are wondering if they will ever receive their money back. From ICOS’ experience, as the school has gone into liquidation, the likelihood of any of the students getting a refund is extremely low – in fact, people who lost money to the school closures in 2014-15 still contact us looking for an update.’

Brian Hearne, ICOS’ Policy and Communications Manager added: ‘We are seeing history repeat itself once again where English language students are on the losing end and Ireland's reputation is being tarnished. These students deserve better, and should be offered the chance to study in another English language school. Some of the students have proof that they paid for Learner Protection, yet the International House Galway did not take out policies for them, we want to know why?’


It is ICOS’ view that the government must start taking international education sector seriously. We need to see the introduction of the International Education Mark (IEM), which has been stalled for some time, and the implementation of a new International Education Strategy to replace the last strategy which expired in 2020. Without robust regulations and a strategy to guide the sector, international students are going to be at risk of further school closures, and Ireland will run the risk of losing its well-established reputation as an education destination.




For media queries, please contact: Policy and Communications Manager, Brian Hearne, on Ph: 0851228807 Email:


Note to Editors

Learner Protection is an insurance that protects learners in the event of their school closing. It is an immigration requirement for education providers to have Learner protection to sell courses to non-EEA international students. However, it is not a requirement to sell courses to EU students.

The International Education Mark (IEM) will be a quality mark awarded to higher education and English language education providers who have demonstrated that they meet national standards to ensure a high-quality experience for international students.


Students and agents available for interview upon request.


News type
ICOS Press Release