Kearney Hosts Irish Medium Education Strategy meeting in Crumlin
Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney welcomed a large crowd to Crumlin this week (Friday) for a discussion on the Next Steps for Irish Medium Education.
Amongst the participants from a wide cross section of Irish Language schools, parents and community organisations, were Education Minister John O’Dowd and Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín.
Representatives from locally based South Antrim Irish language schools and projects including, Ionad Teaghlaigh Ghleann Darach and Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach in Crumlin, Naíscoil na Tamhnaí Móire in Tannaghmore, and Croí Éanna and Gaelscoil Éanna in Hightown also took part.
Introducing the event Mr Kearney welcomed the Ministers and especially the participation of organisations with responsibilities in the field of Irish Language Education. Nóra Ní Loinsigh from Gaelscoileanna Teo, Pilib Ó Rúnaí of Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta and Liam Ó Flanagáin of Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta each delivered presentations looking at their areas of work and at the challenges and opportunities facing Irish Medium Education in 2016 and beyond.
Mr Kearney said,
“I was delighted to welcome the Ministers, the respective groups, parents and many others who attended today's meeting. We facilitated a discussion on how to build the type of co-operation Sinn Féin believes is needed between the Irish language community, education sector and the political system to take forward the next steps in developing the Irish Language across the north and nationally."
Mr Kearney continued,
“Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to the development of the Irish medium sector and ensuring the rights of pupils and parents who choose education through the Irish Language are fulfilled. Facilities such as the Ionad Teaghlaigh and Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach in Crumlin are testament to the commitment Education Minister John O’Dowd and Sinn Féin have invested in the development of Irish Medium Education.”
During the discussions Mr Kearney praised those in the Irish Language sector for their commitment and set out a range of challenges and opportunities to be faced during 2016 and beyond.
“2016 is a challenging year for us all, with the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising, Assembly elections and the continued pressures upon Executive department budgets due to British government cut backs. Nonetheless, with the same commitment and spirit many of those in attendance have shown over many years, I believe Pobal na Gaeilge is well positioned to push forward and break new ground in the development of the Irish language in the Six Counties.
“There are many challenges facing us including issues relating to community planning and strategic area planning. However, with Irish Medium Education now firmly embedded in the education system, thanks to the work of John O’Dowd and other Sinn Féin ministers, these challenges are just as much an opportunity to create new momentum to grow the Irish Language in schools and local communities.
“Co-operation, campaigning and working strategically together to maximise this growth will be more important than ever before."