Irish in our education system - it's broken, let's fix it!

30 September 2019

Over 60% surveyed agree that reform is required

A new campaign called #Gaeilge4All has been launched today, Monday, 30th of September, to strengthen and defend the Irish language in our education system and to ensure that every student can have a positive, meaningful and fulfilling Irish language learning experience from preschool to third level.

According to a 2019 Kantar Millward Brown survey:

  • 64% agree that reform is needed in the Irish educational system to ensure that all students finish their education with a competent level of Irish (only 11% were against this)
  • 64% agree that Irish should remain as a core subject, i.e. that all students study up to leaving certificate (only 14% were against this)
  • 63% agree that there should be a comprehensive policy that links the teaching of Irish throughout the duration of the educational cycle, i.e. from pre-school to primary, to secondary schooling through to third level (only 11% were against this)

Julian de Spáinn, a spokesperson for the campaign said: “Since the foundation of the State in the south all Governments have avoided the fact that the system for Irish in our education system is broken. We, in the #Gaeilge4All campaign, believe that the time has come to fix the problems in a holistic and comprehensive manner. It’s time to address the real issues head on. We know that the public are behind reform, based not only on the results of the Kantar Millward Brown survey with regard to Irish in the education system but also based on thousands and thousands of social media comments, letters to editors, newspaper articles, opinion pieces, polls and much more over the years.

We are calling on the Minister of Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, TD to put together an evidence based comprehensive policy, for the first time since the foundation of the State, for the Irish language in our education system from pre-school to third level. Such a comprehensive and structured policy, which has adequate input from the public and interested parties, will ensure a joined up approach for Irish at each step in the education system. Such a policy would recognise the integral role of our schools, teachers, parents, communities and the students themselves in the Irish language learning journey.”

Caoimhe Molloy, a spokesperson for the campaign and also Irish Language Officer for the Irish Second Level Students’ Union, said: “Let's not avoid problems but solve them. Let's give every student of every ability the chance & support to learn Irish. Let’s support and better equip the teachers in our schools. Let's use international best practice to ensure every child is included. Let's keep Irish as a core leaving cert subject but fix the problems in the system. Let's do this together - Déanaimis anois é”.

The campaign is open to all who wish to take part in it. There is further information and a petition available at www.gaeilge4all.ie.

Contact info for spokespersons:

Julian de Spáinn, Ard-Rúnaí Chonradh na Gaeilge: 086 8142757

Information for the Editor with regard to the Kantar Millward Brown survey:

  • The survey results presented here are derived from the Kantar Millward Brown / Conradh na Gaeilge  Island of Ireland Poll
  • Interviews were conducted face-to-face, in-home, with those aged 16+
  • Quota controls were set on gender, age, social class and region to mirror the population profile
  • 1,011 interviews were conducted at 66 sampling points in the South
  • Interviews were carried out between 23rd January and 6th February
  • Data was weighted to reflect the adult population aged 16+.
  • The margin of error for this opinion poll is +/- 3.1%
  • The poll was conducted in accordance with the guidelines set by ESOMAR and AIMRO (European and Irish Market and Opinion Research governing bodies). Extracts from the report may be quoted or published on condition that due acknowledgement is given to Kantar Millward Brown and Conradh na Gaeilge.

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge