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PRESS RELEASE: A Policy for Irish-medium Education – more urgent than ever

Dec 21, 2020

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With the announcement today by the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, that no Irish-medium post-primary school will feature among the four schools due to open in September 2021, it is more evident and urgent than ever that the Department of Education undertakes to develop a Policy for Irish-medium Education, as committed to by the Secretary General of the Department and the former Minister for Education, Joe McHugh.

It is widely recognised that the existing process for establishing post-primary schools fails to address the demand for Irish-medium education. Gaeloideachas has been advising the Department of Education for many years about the unsuitability of the current system and the consequential denial of Irish-medium education for many pupils at post-primary level.

Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaeloideachas states, “We are very disappointed on behalf of the pupils who have been denied their choice of education and for the pupils who won’t have the opportunity to continue their Irish-medium education from primary to post-primary level. This is a great disappointment. Furthermore, included in the announcement was the suggestion that the Aonad model (Irish unit in an English-medium school) may be considered in the future in one or two of the schools. This is not a satisfactory solution to a request for Irish-medium education. The Department is aware of our position on the Aonad model and we look forward to engaging with them in the new year about the development of a Policy on Irish-medium Education, a policy which will outline the State’s vision for Irish-medium education and provide a solid foundation for the sector”.

“Today’s announcement comes hot on the heels of the publication of the results of research by Kantar, on behalf of Conradh Na Gaeilge, findings that clearly illustrate that three out of every four people support the right of children to continue their Irish-medium education at post-primary level. It is time the State acted on the strong support by the public for the provision of Irish-medium education”, stated Seán Ó hArgáin, President of Gaeloideachas.

End

Note for the Editor

The areas announced today to receive a new post-primary school in September 2021:-

  • Ballincollig (Co. Cork)
  • Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire (Co. Dublin)
  • Dunshaughlin (Co. Meath)
  • Gorey (Co. Wexford)

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