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Ruane congratulates Coláiste Feirste on new school building

9 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, today applauded the new school building at Coláiste Feirste in West Belfast.

Coláiste Feirste remains the only post-primary school in the North of Ireland to provide education through the medium of the Irish language.

Ms Ruane said:

"When Coláiste Feirste originally opened its doors in 1991 it was with a small number of students in temporary classrooms. Since then the school has seen a steady increase in enrolments and there are now nearly 500 pupils receiving their education through the medium of Irish at Coláiste Feirste.

"This is testament to the growing demand for Irish language schools in the North of Ireland. As Education Minister I have a duty to continue to support this sector, enabling parents to send their children to Irish speaking schools if they so choose.

"Irish language pupils must be afforded the same opportunity and access to a quality education as those in English speaking schools.

"I want to congratulate all the staff and pupils at Coláiste Feirste for all of their hard work and wish them every success with their future plans for the school." ENDS

Note to Editors

Coláiste Feirste is a grant-maintained Irish-medium, co-educational post-primary school situated in West Belfast which caters for pupils aged between 11 and 18. The school was established in 1991 in a former Presbyterian Church in the Broadway area of the Falls Road as an independent school and attained grant-aided status, as a maintained school, with effect from 1 September 1996.

The new development comprises of an additional 3,561m² of floor space including a main hall, drama, home economics, art, technology & design, science, history, geography, music and changing facilities.

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