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Recognition from Dept. of Education for Four New Schools

April 25, 2008


GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. warmly welcomes the decision taken by the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, TD to grant provisional recognition to the 4 new Gaelscoileanna (Irish-medium primary schools) due to open in September 2008. This is a very positive decision by Minister Hanafin that ensures that parents will have the opportunity to avail of Irish-medium education in the following areas:-

  • Gaelscoil na gClocha Liatha, Greystones, Co. Wicklow: an Inter-denominational school under the patronage of the Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge.
  • Gaelscoil Ros Eo, Rush Co. Dublin: a Catholic school under the patronage of the Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge.
  • Gaelscoil Éadan Doire, Edenderry, Co. Offaly: a Catholic school under the patronage of the Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge.
  • Gaelscoil Lorgan, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan: a Catholic school under the patronage of the local Bishop.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. President, Mícheál Ó Broin, welcomed the Minister’s announcement: "The founding committees have done tremendous work, on a voluntary basis, to enable these schools to reach the point of official temporary recognition from the Department of Education and Science. I congratulate the Patron bodies, and the committees themselves for their diligence and I wish them every success as they plant the seed of Irish-language communities in their areas."

This development confirms that Irish-medium education remains a very strong educational system of choice in the community and that steady growth and demand exists.  Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, C.E.O. of the organisation stated that "GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. will continue to make every effort to meet the demands for provision from the community while simultaneously planning strategically for provision in the future so as to ensure that Irish-medium education, as a system of high standards of education is available to all."

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the national co-ordinating body for schools teaching through the medium of Irish. It helps parents and local groups to set up new schools and supports the established all-Irish schools. There are 169 primary schools and 43 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish.

Further Information:          

Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin: 01-4773155    

Mícheál Ó Broin:  087-9467700     


Financial Problems of Primary Schools

April 14, 2008

Primary School Managers Alert the Dáil to Major Short fall in Funds this Year

  • Hundreds of schools facing financial difficulties
  • Massive levels of fund-raising required to keep schools afloat
  • Government Failure to Double Primary Capitation a Major Error

Today (Thursday 10th April), the representatives of all management bodies in Irish primary education are addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science to alert the Dail to the serious financial problems facing primary schools this year.

The deputation consists of Mgn. Dan OʼConnor of the Catholic Primary School Management Association, Toni Buggle of the National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education, Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin of Gaelscoilleanna, Dónal Ó Conaill of Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge, Canon John McCullagh of the Church of Ireland Board of Education, Paul Rowe of Educate Together and Shahzad Ahmed Quidwai of the Islamic Board of Education.

In a statement to be read out to the Committee, the deputation that represents the management of over 3,200 primary schools states:

"Irish primary education has been chronically underfunded for many years. This neglect is historic and has been carried out by governments of all parties. It is not our intention to dwell on the reasons for this underfunding but to concentrate your minds on the consequences of the failure of the government to address the needs of the system in the current year.

"The underfunding of primary schools has a serious effect on the efficiency of the system as a whole. Primary education is the foundation of our education system and failure to ensure that schools have sufficient funds to meet their day-to-day requirements is short-sighted and foolish.

"Contrary to the governmentʼs claims, the financial state of the primary schools has worsened over recent years. Increases in grants have simply not kept up with the escalating costs of running schools. This year, the reality for most national schools is that their income simply does not meet the minimum expenditure needed to run a school and has to be supplemented by fund-raising.

"In the case of schools associated with a parish and diocesan structure, there is a certain amount of community funding for the school. In the case of schools outside such structures, the balance must be made up by school-based fundraising.

There are some key elements to note:

  • Schools are fund-raising to cover necessities – utility bills, insurance and other essential items.
  • Schools are being forced to cut back on services in an attempt to break even.
  • An increasing number of schools are running in a deficit situation and cannot balance their books.
  • Increasing charges including water charges are eating into the meagre increase in capitation granted in this yearʼs budget.

 Primary Management Bodies, H8a Centrepoint, Oak Drive, Dublin 12, 01 4292500,

To download a photo of the Primary Management Bodies at Leinster House, click here

To view the Presentation by the Primary Management Bodies to the Dáil Joint Committee on Education and Science on concerns regarding primary school funding (11 April 2008), click here

To view the full debate of the Dáil Joint Committee on Education and Science on the Primary Management Bodies concerns regarding primary school funding (11 April 2008), click here


Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge Official Opening

April 9, 2008

Minister Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Social and Family Affairs on Friday last opened Waterford’s new Gaelcholáiste Phort Lairge located at Six Cross Roads, Waterford city.

Minister Cullen TD said the newly-established school which is an all Irish secondary school and the first such second level school in the city was "a symbol of Waterford residents identifying a need, working towards an outcome, taking action that at times was not easy, but now stands as a tribute to local initiative."

He added: "The students currently in First Year are trailblazers and are setting the tone and expectations for students to come."

Minister Martin Cullen TD also remarked: "I am delighted to see that the students here study English, French and German as well as Irish. Research shows that students studying two or more languages develop a facility to pick up others. We will not only need linguists in the future but the richness to be derived from additional languages will be of personal enrichment to the students in their own lives and nationally as we try to develop increased intercultural dialogue and understanding."

Minister Martin Cullen TD concluded his remarks by congratulating Nollaig Ó Cionnaith, Príomh-oide of the school and the Chair of the Board of Management of the school Steven Beatty, and all members of the Board for bringing the project to fruition. Martin Cullen TD said: "I am delighted that Waterford city has joined all those other towns and cities in Ireland where a Post-Primary education can be pursued through the medium of Irish. We need to keep our language alive. Those who through the Gaelscoil movement work to perpetuate its use for future generations deserve our thanks and support. Deanaim comharghairdeas le bord bainistíochta na scoile agus leis an gCathaoirleach, agus dar ndóigh le Nollaig Ó Cionnaith, príomh-oide, as ucht an méid atá déanta cheana féin chun an Gaelcholáiste a chur chun seoil. Guím gach rath ar thodhchaí an choláiste seo. Go maire sibh!"

Article from Waterford Today.

Fair Accommodation Campaign

April 6, 2008

  • Our Demands: GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. MAIN DEMANDS [pdf 53kb]
  • More Info about the Accommodation Campaign:www.coiriochtchoir.com

    GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. Fair Accommodation Campaign

    GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. today launched a national campaign – ‘FAIR ACCOMMODATION NOW! – DEMANDING A PERMANENT SOLUTION’ as part of the organisation’s policy to address the current and ongoing accommodation crisis in Irish-medium schools at primary level. GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’ s campaign is being organised to coincide with the general election with the purpose of focusing politicians minds on an issue that has afflicted the Irish-medium education sector for a long number of years.

    There has been steady growth and development in the Irish-medium sector in the last 30 years but the number of schools awaiting permanent accommodation is increasing rather than decreasing. Launching the campaign, GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’s President, Mícheál Ó Broin stated, "The accommodation crisis at primary and post-primary levels is a challenge that needs to be urgently addressed. Little progress has been made on this issue, and the campaign reiterates GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’ s call on the Government and politicians to face up to their responsibilities in regard to putting agreed systems in place for the benefit of the children in this country".

    The facts reveal that:-
    53% of gaelscoileanna at primary level (of 131 in the 26 counties) are without permanent accommodation, i.e. 69 schools.
    Of the 29 schools that have opened since 1998 none have permanent accommodation.
    Of the 58 schools that have opened since 1994 – 52 schools are still without permanent accommodation.

    40 schools are waiting at least 10 years for permanent accommodation and of those 9 are waiting 20 years or longer.

    The main findings of the survey conducted among schools are presented as part of the package launched today as well as proposed solutions to the current crisis. GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. also launched a document outlining the organisation’s demands on the government to improve the Irish medium sector as a whole.

    GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the national co-ordinating body for schools teaching through the medium of Irish. It helps parents and local groups to set up new schools and supports the established all-Irish schools. There are 163 primary schools and 38 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish. 5 new Irish medium primary schools will open in September 2007 as well as 4 post-primary schools.

    Further Information:
    Mícheál Ó Broin, Gaelscoileanna President 087-9467700
    GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. Office: 01-4773155



    (93% (122 schools) returned a completed questionnaire which investigated the current accommodation situation of 131 primary schools in the 26 counties, outside of the Gaeltacht)

    Ongoing Crisis

    The accommodation crisis in the Irish-medium education sector has been ongoing for many years. The number of schools awaiting permanent accommodation is increasing rather than decreasing. It is unacceptable that parents are obliged to contribute or fund-raise to supplement rental payments from the Department of Education and Science. This crisis was recognized in the Programme for Government, 2002:

    "A comprehensive review of the needs of all Gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht schools will be undertaken. As part of the work of the Department of Education & Science, the physical condition of all buildings used by these schools will be reviewed and a programme put in place to ensure that they meet required standards."

    Unfortunately, very little progress has been made on this urgent issue. Any achievements to date are totally insufficient. It is obvious that the current system is failing to deal with the problem. This issue needs to be prioritised by the Government, as promised. Unsuitable temporary arrangements must be ended and we demand of the Department of Education and Science to provide a safe and suitable learning environment for all our pupils.

    53% of gaelscoileanna without permanent accommodation

    There are 131 Irish-medium primary schools in the country (excluding 5 new schools due to open in September 2007). At present 69 of these are in temporary accommodation, i.e. 53%.

    Of the 29 schools that have opened since 1998 none have permanent accommodation.
    Of the 58 schools that have opened since 1994 – 52 are still without permanent accommodation, constituting 90% of the total for this period.

    104 schools have opened between 1983 agus 2006. 69 schools, i.e. 66%, are still without permanent accommodation. Of these:-
    34 schools opened between 1983 agus 1989 – 10 are without permanent accommodation (i.e. 29%).
    51 schools opened between 1990 agus 1999 – 40 are without permanent accommodation (i.e. 78%).
    19 schools opened between 2000 agus 2006 – 19 are without permanent accommodation (i.e. 100%)

    schools are waiting at least 10 years for permanent accommodation and of those 9 are waiting 20 years or longer.

    59% gaelscoileanna in unsuitable accommodation.

    59% of primary schools, encompassing both permanent and temporary accommodation, responded stating that their school’s accommodation is unsuitable.

    Amongst the reasons given were the following:-

    Prefabricated Classrooms
    22 schools completely dependent on prefabricated buildings.
    25 other schools using prefabricated buildings.

    Old Buildings
    – for example old storerooms, TB hospital, and related difficulties such as high heating costs, windows which cannot be opened, holes in roof/floors, damp etc.

    Sharing Space

    sharing space with sports clubs and the related difficulties such as lack of storage space and lack of privacy.
    insufficient toilet facilities for pupils and staff.

    Deficits in Schools
    49 (40%) of schools have either no hall or lack a suitable hall
    33 (27%) of schools lacking sufficient space and/or sufficient classrooms
    13 (11%) of schools that cannot physically expand and therefore cannot satisfy local demand for places
    23 (19%) of schools have either no staff-room or lack a suitable staff-room
    19 (16%) of schools have either no learning support room or lack a suitable learning support room
    18 (15%) of schools either have no schoolyard or lack a suitable schoolyard
    9 (7.5%) of schools lack a suitable special needs resource room.

    Other basic deficits:
    playing fields,
    storage space,

    Samples of schools with accommodation deficits:
    Lack of hall, staff-room, special needs room agus storage space
    Lack of hall, learning support room, storage space and proper offices
    Although there is high demand for places in the school, they cannot guarantee places to parents. Presently lack a hall, staff-room and storage area.
    One toilet for 100 pupils, sharing space with a G.A.A. Club and using prefabricated buildings. 11 years waiting for the Department to provide permanent solution.
    Depending completely on prefabricated buildings that are in very poor condition. A site has been earmarked for 5 years now but no progress has been made.

    3 schools in temporary accommodation stated that there was uncertainty surrounding the location of the school for the coming school year.

    13% of gaelscoileanna concerned with health and Safety issues.

    16 schools (13%) felt that they had health and safety issues in their schools. Samples include:
    Holes in the roof and floor, leaks, heat and electrical difficulties, all rooms upstairs, car-park in use as playground, etc.

    RENTAL COSTS OF SCHOOLS (without permanent accommodation)
    Over €4,500,000 spent on rent each year

    Of the 58 schools that responded to the question on rental costs €4,500,000 is being paid in total each year on rent.


    A small number of the 69 schools without permanent accommodation are presently on the planning list within the Department but urgent action is required to eliminate the scandalously long wait being endured by many of the other schools. Accordingly, we demand:
    that priority be given within the Planning Section of the Department to address the accommodation crisis in schools with permanent recognition that are housed in temporary accommodation.

    GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. fully accepts that schools may have to start out in temporary accommodation but ‘temporary’ should mean temporary. Accordingly, we demand:
    that proactive planning take place to provide suitable sites through an agreed structure involving the Department of Education and Science and Local Authorities.
    that Local Authorities be legally obliged to designate a suitable site for a school as soon as that school has received permanent recognition, as well as having powers of compulsory purchase.
    that the Office of Public Works (O.P.W.) be legally obliged to purchase a site for a school within three years of the school receiving permanent recognition.

    In the meantime no school, whether newly founded or not, should have to suffer in unsuitable accommodation. Therefore, we demand:
    that a minimum standard of accommodation, in terms of both space and physical condition, be put in place immediately and that agreement be made with each school on the timescale for the temporary accommodation.

    It is entirely unacceptable that schools in temporary accommodation must fundraise to supplement rental payments from the Department. Therefore, we demand:
    that the Department pay 100% of all rental and associated site costs for schools with permanent recognition, and
    that in the case of schools without permanent recognition the difference between 75% and 100% of rental costs be repaid to schools once permanent recognition has been granted.