Kearney welcomes official launch of Naíscoil na Fíobha
Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney has described the official launch of Naíscoil na Fíobha in the Duneane and Toome area as an historic development in the promotion of the Irish language locally.
Speaking after the event, he said:
"This and adjacent areas of South Antrim have been synonymous with An Ghaeilge for generations. I and several others taught the language at night classes locally for many years. Today that local demand for classes is undiminished.
"However these efforts never translated into a concrete local plan for Irish language medium education, such as happened in Crumlin, Hightown or neighbouring South Derry. The opening of Naíscoil na Fíobha has changed that.
"The new pre-school is based in great facilities at Toome House thanks to support from Tidal. It has a current enrolment, which is set to nearly double by September 2018.
"A very dedicated committee and group of parents have worked in partnership with, among others, Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta, Iontabhas na Gaelige, Altram, Foras na Gaeilge, supported by the local community and neighbouring language activists, to launch this exciting project. I am absolutely confident that it will result in a vibrant local Gaelscoil within 2-3 years.
"Thousands of children are educated every week through the medium of Irish. That system is now complemented by Naíscoil na Fíobha, and a soon to be established and sustainable Gaelscoil.
"This is tremendous news for Toome, Duneane, Moneyglass and the surrounding locality.
"The launch event in Toome house was a very happy occasion. I congratulate all the parents associated with the Naíscoil. They are making an important investment in the educational and cultural development of their children, which they will not regret.
"This occasion was also historically significant for myself and other lifelong Gaeilgeoirí who were present, as we recognise that the Naíscoil will introduce an important new momentum into the popularising of an Ghaeilge locally.
"I look forward to working with the committee and participating parents to support the consolidation and growth of Naíscoil na Fíobha in the coming months and years."