Text size

Scoil Lorcáin – Féile Eolaíochta

December 23, 2010

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

No recognition for new gaelscoils, despite the publication of the Government’s language strategy

December 23, 2010

The Department of Education and Skills this week identified just four areas in which additional primary school provision will be required for September 2011. Although there is a strong demand for Irish medium education in all of the recognised areas, GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is disappointed by the Department’s failure to acknowledge the many additional areas around the country in which founding committees are working tirelessly to ensure Irish-medium provision for their children. The organisation is particularly disappointed by the continued lack of Departmental recognition for Gaelscoil Ráth Tó, which opened without the Department’s support in September 2010. The school’s teacher and pupils paid a visit to the offices of the Minister for Education, an Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, last week with letters petitioning her to grant the school official recognition. The school receives no departmental assistance or funding, despite the proven demand for Irish-medium education in the area.

The Department of Education and Skills’ policy in relation to Irish-medium education does not conform to the guidelines laid down in the Government’s Twenty Year Strategy for the Irish language which was published on 21st December. The Strategy aims to improve the education system, but the Department doesn’t appear to be honouring its obligations to the gaelscoileanna or providing proper support. Prior to this, the Department showed an understanding of the gradual nature of growth in new schools and the schools’ significant role in the wider community. Demographics is now the only factor influencing the Department’s new schools policy; the parents’ right to choose does not appear to play any role in the plan for additional educational provision in 2011.
GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is calling on the Department of Education to recognise Gaelscoil Ráth Tó, as well as the many founding committees currently working throughout the country. We also demand that the department acknowledge both the demand and the right of parents to secure Irish-medium education for their children.  

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. These schools welcome pupils from all linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds. There are 172 primary schools and 39 secondary schools outside of Gaeltacht areas currently providing education through the medium of Irish.

Vow to triple our Irish speakers

December 23, 2010

Government unveils its 20-year strategy. There is a strong focus on promoting Irish in the Gaeltacht amid warnings that the language will die out there in 15 to 20 years if action is not taken.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen admitted yesterday that even €1bn in strategic funding would not be enough to get everyone in the country speaking Irish.

His comments came at the launch of the State’s first ever 20-year plan for the development of the language, which aims to triple the number of daily Irish speakers from 83,000 to 250,000 by 2030.

Mr Cowen admitted the availability of funding for the strategy — just €1.5m next year — had been affected by the economic crisis. But he said the strategy’s success would depend on the people.

“If we had €1bn, it wouldn’t give us the result that everyone is speaking Irish,” he said.

The strategy’s key points include broadening the number of Irish language speakers and improving the Irish-language training of new teachers by giving them more time in the Gaeltacht. It also backs the existing practice of keeping Irish as a compulsory school subject up to Leaving Cert level.

There is also a strong focus on promoting the use of Irish in the Gaeltacht, amid warnings that the language will die out there in 15 to 20 years if action is not taken. As part of the strategy, Gaeltacht communities will have to prepare a language plan and will lose their Gaeltacht status (and the possibility to claim Irish language grants) if they don’t.

“The greatest reason for hope is, in my opinion, the number of young people who are interested in the Irish language. My own children attended a gaelscoil and it is wonderful to see their pride in the language,” Mr Cowen said.

The 20-year strategy has cross-party support, which means that both Fine Gael and Labour are committed to implementing it if they get into power.

However, Fine Gael Gaeltacht spokesman Frank Feighan, who is learning Irish, said his party was sticking to its policy of abolishing Irish as a compulsory Leaving Cert subject.
“There are a lot of people like myself who spent 13 years in school who just have the ‘cupla focal’. We need a lot of confidence and I think this plan is the framework for 100,000 people like myself,” he said.

In Government buildings in Dublin yesterday, Community and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Pat Carey said the Irish language had survived the effects of colonisation, famine and cultural globalisation.

“For the Irish people, the language represents an unbroken chain that stretches back over 2,000 years. Today we are launching a modern plan for the Irish language in this millennium — a plan to ensure that chain will not be broken.”

Irish Independent – Michael Brennan

Seolann an Rialtas straitéis 20 bliain don Ghaeilge

December 23, 2010

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Plan could treble number speaking Irish, says Cowen

December 23, 2010

THE NUMBER of daily Irish speakers could be increased from 83,000 to 250,000 if there was a unified approach, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said at Government Buildings yesterday.

Announcing the Government’s 20-year strategy for the Irish language, Mr Cowen said it was a historic occasion and one that “lifts my heart”.

“I believe this strategy is a historic one and that this is a historic day for the Irish language. For the first time since the State was founded there is a comprehensive, long-term plan for Irish,” the  Taoiseach said, speaking in Irish.

“Under this plan, it is intended to increase the number of people who speak Irish on a daily basis from 83,000 to 250,000 people within 20 years.

“Bringing that about will be an enormous task but I am certain we can succeed. As the old proverb says: “There is no strength without unity .”

He added: “We should never make excuses for defending Irish nor for promoting the language, inside or outside the Gaeltacht.” Mr Cowen said the cross-party support that had been shown for the strategy was very encouraging: “This is a good development because Irish belongs to us all.”

His own family had attended an Irish-speaking  school: “It is wonderful how proud of the language they are; they never have any issue about speaking Irish.”
Minister for  Gaeltacht Affairs Pat Carey said it was “a cause for celebration” that the strategy would ensure the State, the language organisations and the general public were working together.

Speaking in Irish he said: “Irish is still identified by Unesco as a language of fragile status. If a language is lost, it is virtually impossible to revive it.”

“Irish is like an unbroken chain which reaches back through 2,000 years of our history. A modern, up-to-date plan for Irish is being launched today for this millennium – a plan whose aim is to ensure that the chain is not broken.”

He said that, “although it is a Government plan, it does not belong to the Government, it belongs to you and to us and it is up to us and to you to ensure it is put into practice”.

Speaking in English, he said: “I am pleased to see members of the English-language media here today. The English-language media have an important role to play in increasing awareness of the Irish language.

“While I am not in any way suggesting that the media become cheerleaders for the Irish language, I do feel, however, that certain media do not always treat Irish language issues with the same seriousness that they treat other issues.”

Fine Gael spokesman on the Gaeltacht Frank Feighan said his party supported the 20-year plan “in principle” with the reservation that the party believed the teaching of Irish should be obligatory until Junior Cert level only and not until the Leaving Cert stage as at present.


* Increase the number of daily speakers of Irish from 83,000 to 250,000 and the number of daily speakers of Irish in Gaeltacht areas by 25 per cent.

* The strategy proposes to reconfigure Údarás na Gaeltachta as a new Údarás na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta. Its headquarters will be based in the Gaeltacht.

* It will retain an enterprise function and it will also have responsibility for Irish language matters throughout the State in the context of the new Strategy.

* Foras na Gaeilge will continue to be supported and will maintain its existing responsibilities for the language on an all-island basis.

* The Cabinet committee on Irish and the Gaeltacht will maintain oversight of progress of the strategy.

* A total of €1.5 million has been set aside by the department from within existing resources to support the strategy, as required, during its first year.

* The first steps have been taken in establishing a strategy unit in Pat Carey’s Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs that will direct the implementation of the strategy and draft the legislation.

* Up to 20 per cent of places in colleges of education to be retained for students educated through Irish in Gaeltacht schools, in gaelscoileanna and for those attaining a high performance threshold in Irish in the Leaving Certificate.

* Under a new Gaeltacht Act, Gaeltacht status will be based on linguistic criteria. Communities that cannot comply with the criteria will be given two years to develop language plans to maintain their status as Gaeltacht communities.

* New areas may also be included in the Gaeltacht if they meet the linguistic criteria under the new Act.

Irish Times – Deaglán de Bréadún

A Christmas Poem

December 21, 2010

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

An Mhodhscoil – Bliots Liathróid Láimhe

December 14, 2010

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Gabh le Gaeilge, the result of co-operation and a highlight of 2010

December 14, 2010

One highlight of 2010 for Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge was the official launch of the DVD ‘Gabh le Gaeilge’ at the Oireachtas festival in Killarney.  
Gabh Le Gaeilge is an information package for GCSE students in Northern Ireland, produced by Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge. The DVD, and the information pack that accompanies it, explain the benefits of studying Irish as a school subject.

Not only is ‘Gabh le Gaeilge’ an excellent aid for students, teachers, and parents alike, but it is also an excellent example of what can be achieved through strategic co-operation.  ‘Gabh le Gaeilge’ was a joint venture which arose organically from a seminar of Buntáiste Breise na Gaeilge which both organizations held in Belfast.  Both organisations brought a unique set of skills to the project, which meant the project could be completed efficiently, effectively and economically.  

There are over 150 subjects available for the GCSE but the number of students choosing Irish has fallen by 25% over the past three years, with many students choosing other languages instead of Irish.  Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge and Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge undertook this particular project to tackle this current trend in decreasing figures.  

The ‘Gabh le Gaeilge’ DVD and information pack, will be sent to teachers in English speaking schools, to help them promote Irish as a choice for the GCSE.  The pack is aimed at students between 11-14 years of age, with little Irish, so simple clear Irish is used throughout the DVD, and the rhythm of the DVD is suitably timed.  

In the DVD, Caoimhe Ní Chonchoille introduces speakers from different backgrounds, who speak about the Irish language in their lives.  The speakers on the DVD include Tomaí Ó Conghaile (Radio presenter and journalist with Nuacht 24), Ursula Uí Dhonnaile (Irish language officer with Dungannon Council) and Mark Harte (Former footballer with Tyrone, and secondary school teacher).

To order a free copy of ‘Gabh le Gaeilge’, please e-mail gabhlegaeilge@gaelport.com.  Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge hope to build on the premise of co-operation throughout 2011, in conjunction with our member organisations.

2,500 students take part in Irish Career Seminars

December 14, 2010

Since the beginning of the year Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge has organised seven  seminars focusing on Irish language jobs and  careers in various venues around the country.
From January seminars have taken place in Castlebar, Galway, Killarney, Belfast, Letterkenny, Dublin and Tullamore a month ago.  Up to 2,500 secondary school students from up to seventy four schools around the country have attended and participated in these seminars.

The Added Advantage of Irish’ is the theme of the seminar, and speakers working in a wide range of  sectors spoke on the advantages which the Irish language has afforded them in their chosen careers.
Our tour commenced in Castlebar back in January with guest speakers such as Paisean Faisean’s Bláthnaid Ní Dhonnchadha, and IRadio’s broadcaster Barbara Ní Dhonnchadha gave an insight into how she uses her Irish as a bilingual broadcaster.  

In Galway at the end of February over 400 students attended the event in the Salthill Hotel.  Guest speakers included RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltacht broadcaster Eibhlín Ní Chonghaile along with one of Galway’s finest hurling stars and Irish language teacher Cathal Moore.  Colm Ó Coisdealbha discussed his own experiences in his role as Compliance Manager with An Coimisinéir Teanga in An Spidéal while Gearóidín Ní Ghioballáin from Gaillimh le Gaeilge and  Gráinne Ní Chonghaile from Conradh na Gaeilge in Galway highlighted the importance of the Irish language while promoting Irish language events and the language in Galway city.

At the beginning of May we headed south to the Kingdom to the Glengeagle Hotel in Killarney where Eibhlín Ní Choisdealbha from Lios a Phúca near Killarney who is a News Presenter with TG4 and the well known football star and broadcaster with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Dara Ó Cinnéide gave a great insight into their journeys in securing a career within the Irish language media.

Later in the year we travelled up to Belfast where pupils from fourteen schools from Northern Ireland attended the seminar.  Guest speakers included journalist/broadcaster Tomaí Ó Conghaile from Newry and Ursula Uí Dhonnaile an Irish Language Officer with Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council and Cookstown District Council.  Talented footballer and Irish Medium Teacher Conall Ó Máirtín gave an insight into the use of the language with his work with Campa Chormac.

A week later we headed Northwest to Letterkenny.  Once again over 400 students from secondary schools all over the county listened to guest speakers including Kevin Cassidy a Donegal footballing hero and teacher.  Loretta Ní Churraighín an executive with Oireachtas na Gaeilge, while Caitlín Uí Chlochláin discussed her career to date, and her role as an Irish language coordinator with Donegal County Council.  RTÉ and TG4 journalist, Caoimhe Ní Chonchoille spoke of the many opportunities which the Irish language has afforded her.

In Liberty Hall in Dublin Anna Davitt, Director with Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge in Dublin focused on her own personal experiences  in the education sector while Ros na Rún and Fair City actress Doireann Ní Chorragáin spoke about the doors which the language opened for her in her acting career.  Colm Mac an Iomaire  gave an inspiring insight into this own experience in growing up in Dublin in an Irish speaking household and Spin 1038 DJ Eoghan Mac Diarmada, who presents Pop4 on TG4 also enthralled the full to capacity auiditorium.

And to close the 2010 tour,  440 students attended an inspirational event in Tullamore. Pupils from schools from Westmeath, Co. Laois, Meath, Kilkenny, Kildare and Tipperary heard TG4 agus RTÉ’s journalist Irene Ní Nualláin from Mullingar and RTÉ’s sports presenter Evanne Ní Chuilinn from Kilkenny give insights into the challenges of learning Irish and working with the Irish media.  Darragh Egan ones of Tipperary’s talented hurlers and a teacher in Nenagh highlighted the importance of the language.  

We are extremely grateful to all our sponsors who gave us wonderful prizes throughout the year: Gael-Linn, Coláiste Uisce, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Coláiste na bhFiann, Gaelscéal, Telegael, Scoil Surfáil Freedom, Coláiste Ó Direáin Summer College in Inis Mór, Raidió na Life, Campa Chormaic.     

Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge hope to organize similar seminars around the country in 2011.  

Loss of 50 teachers ‘a threat to viability’ of Gaelscoils

December 13, 2010

The loss of teachers in dozens of Gaelscoils will create larger classes and make all-Irish primary schools less viable, it has been claimed.

The national recovery plan revealed last month that favourable staffing levels for Gaelscoils, particularly smaller ones, would be ended. But details outlined after Tuesday’s budget show that the number of additional teaching posts to be lost is 50, significantly more than had been expected. Many of the schools will lose two teachers and Gaelscoileanna, which represents all-Irish schools outside the Gaeltacht, said it will put Irish language schools under serious threat. The extra teaching posts apply to Gaelscoils with between 76 and 257 pupils, meaning, for example, that a Gaelscoil needs 153 children to appoint a sixth teacher but an ordinary primary school needs 173. Almost 150 primary schools outside the Gaeltacht teach entirely through Irish, and the number of pupils attending them has grown by over 10,000 to more than 31,000 in a decade.

“These favourable arrangements were to help develop our schools which usually start out very small and are usually in unsuitable accommodation for the first five to 10 years,” said Gaelscoileanna president, Micheál Ó Broin. He is principal of Gaelscoil Chnoc na Ré in Sligo town, one of dozens which will lose staff next year as a result of the move by Tánaiste and Education Minister Mary Coughlan. The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation said the smaller classes took account of the fact that Irish is not the language spoken at home for most Gaelscoil pupils. “Many of the teachers who lose their jobs will be in limbo because, although the Croke Park agreement rules out compulsory redundancies, many all-Irish schools are not covered by redeployment arrangements. A number of principals will also have to go back as full-time teachers because of the posts being cut,” an INTO spokesperson said. “Government politicians have never wasted a chance to stress their complete support for Irish-language education and recognised the fundamental role played by Irish-medium schools in developing and promoting the language. Those who vote for this cutback will effectively now say the opposite.”

The cut to Gaelscoil staffing is among a range of measures that will see 1,230 teaching posts withdrawn from schools next autumn. Other affected services include schemes to improve education for Travellers, students at risk of dropping out, children whose first language is not English and rural schools in disadvantaged areas.

Irish Examiner – Niall Murray
10 Nollaig 2010

Next Page »