Resources promised for its implementation, starting with €1 million in 2017, increasing to €7 million over time
Conradh na Gaeilge says Gaeltacht & Irish-language community, Department of Education & Skills, and Department for the Gaeltacht are all to be commended for productive, worthwhile process to prepare the policy
Conradh na Gaeilge has welcomed the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017 - 2022 as launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Seán Kyne TD, in An Cheathrú Rua today (28 October 2016), and has commended the Government for tackling the specific challenges and requirements faced by Gaeltacht schools and by pupils who are native speakers of Irish.
Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:
“Conradh na Gaeilge commends the Government for publishing this urgently-needed policy on Gaeltacht education, and we heartily welcome its provisions which look to support and provide for Gaeltacht communities across the country.
“The Government deserves high praise for publishing this wide-ranging policy, as indeed does everyone who participated in the comprehensive consultation run by the Department of Education and Skills as part of this process, both within the Gaeltacht and outside it.”
Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes in particular the Gaeltacht School Recognition Process which specifies that schools will be required to operate entirely through the medium of Irish to achieve recognition as a Gaeltacht school, and applauds the inclusion of supports to achieve this.
Conradh na Gaeilge furthermore welcomes the provision of, and access to, dedicated professional development opportunities for teachers, principals, and language assistants to build capacity and support the implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education, all of which will be overseen by An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta (COGG).
Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge says:
“We highly commend the Government on their Policy on Gaeltacht Education. The policy is thorough, far-reaching, and ambitious. We anticipate its speedy implementation and welcome the resources that were announced today to this end, starting with €1 million in 2017 and increasing over time to €7 million.
“Some matters are still outstanding, and they must be dealt with, including for example the recruiting of teachers in Gaeltacht schools from a specific panel of people with proficiency in the Irish language. This recommendation was not taken on board in the policy as published today, despite the fact that An Foras Pátrúnachta was even willing to provide a panel for this. These outstanding issues must be addressed and included in the administration and application of this policy before us.”
As Eoin MacNeill himself stated, the Irish language will not be revived through our schools alone, but rather through providing people with opportunities to use the language beyond the education system as well. The Government must also make the resources for the provision of these opportunities available by properly funding the Irish-language and Gaeltacht investment plan, which they failed to do in the recent budget announcement. This would ensure that, in tandem with the implementation of the new Policy on Gaeltacht Education, the vitally important work that will be ongoing in the Gaeltacht schools would be supported within the community.