The Aitheantas campaign welcomes the announcement by the Department of Education and Skills that at least three of the 14 new post-primary schools to open within the next three years will be designated as Irish-medium Gaelcholáistí in Dublin and Cork, and wants to ensure that Coláiste Ghlór na Mara in Balbriggan is numbered among the all-Irish secondary schools.
Owing to a dearth of new all-Irish schools opening in recent years, Irish organisations Comhluadar, Conradh na Gaeilge, Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge and Glór na nGael joined forces to form the Aitheantas campaign to redress the situation, and in particular to support the parents of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó in Ratoath, Co. Meath when their request for recognition for the all-Irish primary school was refused in 2010.
Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge has been very active in the Aitheantas campaign since its formation and An Foras Pátrúnachta is the patron for Coláiste Ghlór na Mara in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, as well as for other primary and secondary schools. A founding committee has also been working to gain recognition for Coláiste Ghlór na Mara over the last five years, and an official request to recognise the secondary school was lodged with the Department of Education and Skills two years ago.
Patrons for the new secondary schools have yet to be decided by the Department of Education and Skills but Caoimhín Ó hEaghra, General Secretary of Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna LánGhaeilge, is encouraged by the fact that the Gaelcholáiste in Balbriggan has both a patron and a development plan: "An Foras Pátrúnachta welcomes the good news that parents in Dublin and Cork looking for an all-Irish second level education for their children will have their needs met, and we hope that Coláiste Ghlór na Mara will be recognised owing to the fact that there is a long-term development plan in place and widespread support for Irish-medium education in north Dublin. There will be no trouble filling places in Balbriggan's Gaelcholáiste!"
Feargal Ó Cuilinn, Director of Comhluadar says: "The Irish-medium education movement is widely recognised as one of the most successful and important factors in the promotion of Irish in the community in the last 20 years and as such, the announcement by the Department of Education and Skills that three all-Irish secondary schools will open between now and 2014 is great news for the language in general. Aitheantas hopes that this is a sign of the Government's long-term commitment to meet the needs of parents looking for Irish-medium second level education for their children, and that other Gaelcholáistí across the country will gain recognition in coming years as well."
Aitheantas is also calling on the Department of Education and Skills to include the provision of Irish-medium education in the criteria used when selecting areas for all types of new schools in future, primary and secondary schools alike, to ensure that the national demand for all-Irish education is catered for.
Feargal Ó Cuilinn,
+353 (0)1 4789191 / +353 (0)87 2908391
Caoimhín Ó hEaghra
General Secretary, An Foras Pátrúnachta
+353 (0)86 1738044
Aitheantas means recognition in Irish and the campaign was established in 2010 by four national Irish-language organisations - Comhluadar, Conradh na Gaeilge, Glór na nGael and An Foras Pátrúnachta - to support the parents of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó in Ratoath, Co. Meath when they were looking for recognition for the school; and to address the national demand for all-Irish education by urging the Department of Education and Skills to include the provision of Irish-medium education in the criteria used when selecting areas for new schools. www.aitheantas.com
Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna LánGhaeilge (An Foras Pátrúnachta) is a national patronage system for all-Irish primary and secondary schools and functions as a patron, manager and educational organisation. It was founded in 1993 so that new Gaelscoileanna opening in the coming years would have another choice with regard to patronage. The mission of An Foras Pátrúnachta focuses on the development of the provision of Irish Medium Education with a choice of religious ethos, and its patronage is available to schools of any religious denomination and to interdenominational and multi-denominational schools. 58 primary schools and 3 post primary schools are currently under its patronage. www.foras.ie