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Demand for Irish medium Education is not being met – Nolan

8 July, 2016

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Deputy Carol Nolan has said that the government must do more to ensure that the growing demand for Irish medium education is met. Her remarks follow a briefing attended by the Deputy from An Forus Patrúnachta in Leinster House this week.

Deputy Nolan said:

“ESRI figures from 2015 show that 23% of parents would choose to send their child to a gaelscoil if available, yet gaelscoileanna make up only 6.7% of Irish schools.

“At secondary level, the picture is even worse whereby a number of counties, including my own of Offaly do not have a gaelcholáiste despite a number of feeder gaelscoileanna in the area.

“Comparative studies show that gaelcoileanna consistently top the league in terms of educational outcomes and students who have been educated through the medium of Irish show an enhanced ability to learn a second and third language in later years.

“It is likely that the demand for education through the medium of Irish will grow further in future years yet there seems to be no plan in place to meet this demand.

“In particular, there needs to be structures and supports put in place for existing schools that would like to become gaelscoileanna or would like to establish an Aonaid to provide an Irish language medium stream to pupils.

“Furthermore, it is important that the Department recognise that parents are often willing to travel to their nearest gaelscoil and this needs to be taken into account during the patronage application process.

“The government must do more to ensure that an Irish medium education is available to every child who wishes to receive it and put in place the appropriate mechanisms to support the development of Irish medium education into the future.” 

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