Oireachtas Committee Issues Proposal to Strengthen Irish Medium Education

There is some good news for Gaelic for a change.

The Joint Committee on the Irish Language of the Oireachtas (Irish Republic Legislature) have called on the Minister of Education to give equal status to Gaelic in the procurement and distribution of school text books at all grade levels and in all subjects. If implemented this change will equalize funding for Irish and English. The result will be Gaelic language text books in all subjects available to all students.

The move by the Joint Committee is an outcome of a proposal made by the Gaelic special interest group Muintearas, a community education and training organization. The organization's headquarters are based in Tíre an Fhia, Leitir Móir, Co Galway with offices in the Donegal, Mayo and Kerry Gaeltacht. The aims of the Muintearas project are to achieve equal opportunities in education and employment for the Gaeltacht, to facilitate full participation of parents in the education of their children through Gaelic medium education and promote the use of the Irish language in all aspects of community life in the Gaeltacht.  

Article 8 of the Irish Constitution declares the Irish language as the nation’s First Tongue with English explicitly recognized as the second language.  So, one must wonder why is the provision of text books in Irish to all students is an issue in the first place.

The Irish Times (linked below) described the further recommendations of the Committee:

 “The committee said young people in Gaeltacht areas should be recognized as a distinct group by the Oireachtas for the purposes of funding. It calls for a range of measures including the strengthening of ties between schools in Gaeltacht areas and Irish medium schools outside of the Gaeltacht in order to facilitate exchange programmes during transition year. It is also proposed that students attending these schools work on projects together throughout the year. Organisations that work with young people in Gaeltacht areas through the medium of Irish should receive funding matching that provided to organisations that work through the medium of English. The joint committee also recommended that “every assistance” should be given to help establish and maintain drop-in centres where young people could meet and organise activities through the medium of Irish.”



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