NUI Galway has dropped its requirement that the president of the university must be fluent in Irish.
The decision to remove the Irish language criteria from the application process comes after the governing authority at the college felt it was limiting the number of potential candidates for the job.
Until now, short-listed candidates for president of the university had to successfully complete an examination by An Bord Gaeilge before being invited to interview.
A spokesperson for NUI Galway said: “The Irish language has a unique place in the life of the university which is underpinned by statute. This is highlighted by a focus on the promotion of the language in our Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, and through teaching and research activities. Candidates’ vision for the realisation of this goal and all others within the statement of strategy will be an important part of the recruitment process.
Conradh na Gaeilge representative Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha said the decision was a blow for the language: "The decision is most definitely a blow to the Irish language as NUIG or UCG as it was then known, was specifically given a remit by the State to support the Irish language at third level. This decision, taken with the ongoing lack of support for the Irish language by the university authorities, illustrates that they have withdrawn from this remit and this further weakens the support for the Irish language."
Mr Mac Fhlannachadha added: "We are calling on the university to ensure that the incoming president when chosen has sufficient Irish by the time that they start in the job. That is the only real way to show a commitment to the Irish language university community."
The college is about to commence the recruitment process for a successor to its current president Dr Jim Browne.