Win for campaign against Minister for Education’s decision to examine Leaving Cert Irish Paper One in Fifth Year

Feb 28, 2023

Gaeloideachas welcomes the decision announced today that the proposal to examine Leaving Certificate Irish Paper One at the end of Fifth Year has been shelved. Gaeloideachas, along with other education and Irish-language organisations, was at the forefront of these controversial debates, advocating on behalf of students, their parents, and teachers who were extremely unhappy and concerned about the decision.

“There was no scientific or educational basis for this proposal, and there was no analysis of the implications for the learning experience of the student, for teaching and learning of the language throughout the education system, or for the future and status of the language,” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaeloideachas. “All parties recognised that it was essential that every opportunity should be provided for students to develop and fine-tune their language acquisition skills before undertaking the composition and listening comprehension aspects of the examination, and to ensure that they will be more able and capable speakers by the end of the course, rather than taking those opportunities from them in Sixth Year.”

According to Ní Ghréacháin, “There was no sense or reason to making changes at this stage while there is a wider review being undertaken on the Senior Cycle. An à la carte approach cannot be taken, with no comprehensive analysis of the reasoning, unintended consequences, and implications of each decision as it will affect the teaching and learning of Irish. It is past time that the Minister recognises the need for a strong vision and clear policy for the language in the education system as a whole.”

“We recognise that students completing the Leaving Certificate course are under significant pressure, but if Paper One had been moved to the end of Fifth Year, it is our view that the standard of Irish that can be achieved would be lowered. There is a significant risk that students’ level of active participation in the language in Sixth Year would have been reduced, not to mention their levels of interest and will to use Irish socially in the future,” said Seán Ó hArgáin, Acting President of Gaeloideachas.

“The Minister for Education has made the right decision not to implement this proposal. We hope that the views of educators, the community, and support organisations will be taken into account in the ongoing analysis of changes to the Senior Cycle. Gaeloideachas will continue our work.”


Notes for the editor


Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO | | 01 8535195 | 086-8050335

Seán Ó hArgáin, Acting President | 087-4192322

Gaeloideachas is the national lead-organisation that supports the development of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools at primary and at post-primary level.

Gaeloideachas provides advice, assistance and support to people who wish to have their children educated through the medium of Irish, as well as support services for Irish-medium schools in Gaeltacht and non-Gaeltacht areas and naíonraí outside the Gaeltacht.