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Minister Foley approves Irish-medium satellite in a Dundalk-based campus of Coláiste Ghlór na Mara, Balbriggan

Mar 18, 2021

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has approved a proposal for a new satellite model of Irish-medium post-primary provision to be piloted in Dundalk. The model involves a satellite /Dundalk-based campus of An Foras Pátrúnachta’s Balbriggan Gaelcholáiste – Coláiste Ghlór na Mara.

Piloting the Irish-medium satellite model provides an opportunity to explore a model which could have strategic benefits and applicability elsewhere in the country where the establishment of a stand-alone gaelcholáiste is not currently feasible but where there may be a level of unmet demand for Irish-medium post-primary education.

Minister Foley said: “The provision of Irish-medium education is a priority for my Department and this Government, and we share a strong commitment to increasing the number of Irish-medium places available.

“I am delighted to be able to confirm approval for this model on a pilot basis. This pilot offers parents in Dundalk a new choice for Irish-medium provision, in addition to existing provision provided by schools in the area. The learning from the pilot may assist in the potential development of an enduring policy/approach for the application of this model elsewhere, subject to successful review. I wish An Foras Pátrúnachta and Coláiste Ghlór na Mara the very best with this pilot initiative and I look forward to hearing how the initiative develops.”

The satellite model involves the provision of an additional campus of an existing school rather than the establishment of a new school.

The pilot involves a post-primary Gaelcholáiste under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta (Coláiste Ghlór na Mara in Balbriggan) expanding to have a campus in Dundalk.

It is intended that the pilot satellite will commence at the community centre location in Dundalk proposed by An Foras Pátrúnachta and the school authorities will be making the necessary practical arrangements for this to take place from September 2021.

The pilot will be monitored on a regular basis and will fall to be comprehensively reviewed after five years of operation as part of a review of Irish-medium education at post-primary level in Dundalk, with a view to a decision being taken on its continuation or otherwise.

The Department will continue to support the existing Aonad (Irish-medium unit) at Coláiste Chú Chulainn to ensure continuity of provision for the students enrolled.

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