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Adams comments on Irish Medium Education funding

29 September, 2004

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has welcomed the decision of the British Direct Rule Minister Barry Gardiner to offically recognise Gaelscoil na Mona in addition to Irish medium primary schools in Enniskillen, Lisnaskea and Draperstown. However Mr Adams said that he was concerned that the Minister appeared to introduced new criteria in order to justify not recognising the Irish school in Poleglass.

Mr Adams said:

" I obviously welcome the news that the Department is to officially recognise and fund the Gaelscoil na Mona in Turf Lodge in addition to other Irish medium schools in Fermanagh and Deaperstown.

" Up to this point these schools have developed through the commitment and resourcefulness of parents, the dedication of teachers and the support of the wider community.

" Irish medium education is an important part of communities across this island and increasingly in communities throughout the six counties. The Department of Education has a duty to ensure that parents who wish to educate their children through the medium of Irish have the necessary facilities and funding made available.

" I am greatly concerned at the decision of the Minister to refuse to fund the Irish Language Primary School in Poleglass. This school will meet the criteria in terms of enrolment and is currently developing a site and purpose built building. This decision will undermine the continuing development of Irish medium education.

" The inclusion of new criteria relating to existing school places in neighbouring areas as a justification for this decision is of deep concern. It fails to take recognition of the social disadvantage in this community and the attendant lack of mobility to travel to neighbouring areas." ENDS

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