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Government is tongue-tied on Irish language education

22 February, 2006

Speaking today Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Seán Crowe TD, lashed the government due to the fact that Irish people have the worst record for second languages in Europe. According to this EU survey, a massive two-thirds of Irish people speak only English, whilst a mere 9% speak Irish well enough to hold a basic conversation.

Deputy Crowe further expressed his bewilderment at how “the vast majority of students study the Irish language all the way through both Primary and Secondary school, but leave second level education with a poor level of Irish”.

"Instead of Fine Gael’s recent proposal to abolish Irish as a compulsory subject, we should be revitalising Irish as a subject and should be promoting it and enticing young people to take pride in it as an integral part of their culture," he said.

In addition, Ireland is the only EU country with no provision for teaching modern languages in Primary school. Crowe stated that, “despite 390 Primary Schools offering some languages, the fact remains that for some kids the only way to learn a foreign language in primary school is for their parents to fork out on expensive grinds which obviously rules out disadvantaged students.” ENDS

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