Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Mixed response to grant aid decisions on two Irish medium schools

3 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Irish language, East Derry MLA Francie Brolly has welcomed the decision to award grant aide status to Gaelscoil na Speiríní near Ballinascreen but said that it was the wrong decision to deny Gaelscoil na Daróige in Ballymagroarty, Derry similar status.

Mr Brolly said:

"There has been a tremendous growth in Irish medium education throughout the Six Counties. It provides an excellent basis for young people to both learn Irish and develop the learning skills and enthusiasm to help them make the best start in life.

"The decision to award grant aid status to Gaelscoil na Speiríní is a testament to the hard work of teachers, children, parents and local Irish language activists.

"However, I am concerned at the decision not to grant the same status to Gaelscoil na Daróige in Ballymagroarty. This is an area that suffers from high levels of disadvantage with a major population concentration and proven demand. The nearest Irish medium primary school is some distance and I feel the Department has overlooked what is clearly a very viable school.

"On the face of it this looks like a political decision to award grant status to one school but not the other. Changing demographics and the falling school rolls means that the shape of our education system is changing. However, it is clear that the demand for Irish medium is not being fully realised. Sinn Féin is determined to support the continued growth of this invaluable education sector." ENDS

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