It looks like more people will be able to speak Chinese in the next year—but neither I or you will be one of them. ChinesePod, the online learning platform, is offering the people of Ireland free Chinese lessons until May 2010. The reason? According to Springwise, the recession has hit the Irish economy harder than most.

Co-founded by Irishman Ken Carroll, ChinesePod aims to provide a way for the Irish to communicate and do business with the world’s leading economy, which could help with Ireland’s economic recovery. Irish residents can get daily access to lessons, podcasts, online discussion boards, and Skype-based teaching from Mandarin experts, among other learning tools.