Conradh na Gaeilge calls on the Education Authority to fulfil statutory duty
The Education Authority has withdrawn funding from the Irish-language youth sector in Belfast and four groups have subsequently been forced to close, putting the long-term future of Irish-medium youth work into uncertainty. The groups were informed of the Education Authority’s decision to withdraw the funding at 4.35pm on Friday 31 March which resulted in the immediate redundancy of four youth workers in Glór na Móna, who spearhead the development of Irish Medium youth work across Belfast. A campaign meeting is now to be held in Coláiste Feirste at 7.30pm Tuesday 4th April 2017 to oppose the Education Authority’s cuts on the Irish-language youth sector.
Dr Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:
“Youth services through the medium of Irish are a central part of the language revival in the north. The opportunities afforded those who avail of these services, which are directly related to personal development in informal environments, are hugely important for those young people growing up through Irish. Conradh na Gaeilge stands with Glór na Móna, and with the Irish language youth service and calls on the Education Authority to reverse their funding decision and to ensure equal provision for those young people who chose to live their lives primarily though Irish.”
Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge, says:
“This decision was taken despite the statutory duty on the Department of Education to develop and facilitate Irish Medium Education. This duty includes both formal and informal education and provision, both inside and outside of the classroom. This regressive decision shows that this duty is not being fulfilled, and therefore, that there is again a pressing need for legislation to protect and perpetuate the language, and those who wish to use it.”
“The Irish language community are outraged, not only because of the decision, but because of the way the Department has treated these worked; that they were informed late on Friday evening that they would not have a job to return to on Monday. It is clear that the authorities have not learned their lesson since the “Líofa” cuts, but once again the Irish language community will oppose this most recent attack on the language and on our young people.”