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An Bord Snip Nua ignore recommendations of the Department of Education and Science

October 8, 2009

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. expressed disbelief at the decision of the Special Group to ignore the Department of Education and Science’s recommendations in relation to An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG).

Information brought to light by an application by TG4 under freedom of information to the Department of Education and Science revealed that the department objected to the Special Group’s recommendation that COGG be absorbed into the department itself or into the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment at a saving of €1.2 million to the state coffers.

The Department of Education and Science advised that COGG’s good work should continue in its present format.  Despite this recommendation, the department’s concern that pupil and teacher rights in the Irish-medium and Gaeltacht sectors would be discriminated against and that supports for Irish-medium education would suffer, went unheeded. The integrity of the Group’s report must therefore be called into question.

Not only has the department exposed an infringement upon the rights of the citizens of Ireland, they have also illustrated how difficult and challenging in practical terms it would be to dissolve COGG.  They have shown that no money would be saved by doing this, as the service would need to be continued and staff would have to be recruited to provide this service. The Department of Education and Science’s recognition and support for COGG’s statutory functions and for its effectiveness is a huge source of relief to GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. and to the Irish-medium sector in general.

Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, Chief Executive Officer with GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. commented “It’s difficult to believe that the Special Group would go against the recommendations of the department responsible for Irish-medium education. This new information which has come to light proves that the Irish-speaking public is justified in its lack of confidence in the recommendations of this report regarding Irish and Irish-medium education. It is clear that they are based on ignorance and a lack of awareness of rights and of governmental promises as well a total lack of awareness of basic requirements to protect our culture and heritage”.

Referring to the lobbying campaign against the proposals to discontinue COGG, she said “GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. would like to thank every school and every individual who helped with this campaign. The feedback received shows that schools and parents believe that this move would prove disastrous. We urge you to continue lobbying and we are confident that the Taoiseach will instruct that full support be provided to the Irish-medium education sector”.

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 170 primary schools and 39 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish.