Education Department Not Equipped to Take On Irish Language

Conradh na Gaeilge believes it would do untold damage to both the Irish language and the Gaeltacht regions if the recommendations from the Bord Snip Nua report published yesterday, 16 July 2009, were implemented in a way that would abolish the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said: "The Conradh would ask the Government not to transfer the Irish-language responsibilities of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to the Department of Education and Science. The Education Department is neither capable nor competent to answer them.

"The Department of Education is still trying to put an end to total early immersion education in the State's Irish-language schools, despite the fact that educators at home and abroad recognise that this is the best method of teaching a second language. This policy of the Department of Education and Science is also a serious attack on language transmission from generation to generation in the Gaeltacht; this is an obvious indication that there is vindictiveness working against the language at the most senior level in that very Department."

Only 3% of the workforce in the Department of Education and Science are capable of providing services through Irish according to the latest figures from the Department and as such, Conradh na Gaeilge believes the Department is unable to tackle the needs of the Irish-speaking community, within and without the Gaeltacht.

Commenting on the recommendation that An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) should also be abolished, Mac Fhearghusa said: "The Conradh knows the vital work that COGG does for the teaching and learning of Irish in schools across the country, and the announcement that the national education unit in Baile Bhuirne, Co. Cork is not to go ahead will severely impair the language's development.

"It would do unthinkable damage to the language if the work of COGG were to be done away with completely, and worse yet if the Irish-language responsibilities of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs were transferred to the Department of Education and Science", the President of the Conradh said.

"If the Government, and indeed the Houses of Oireachtas Éireann, feel that they have responsibility for the Irish language in the national context, and even from a European perspective, they should not create further irrevocable problems for the language community. Value for money is what we need, not abolition of proven good work."

Further information:

Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa
President, Conradh na Gaeilge.
066 7124169 / 087 2901154

Síne Nic an Ailí
Development Executive, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 087 6546673

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge