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Publication of Irish language survey welcomed

May 18, 2012

Ballymoney Sinn Féin Councillor Cathal McLaughlin has welcomed the publication of a new survey on attitudes towards the Irish language.

The survey was carried out by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, with respondents from across the north. It will help formulate Irish Language policy within the department.

The survey found that people felt there should be more opportunities for people to learn Irish in the North. Additionally 81% of respondents believed pupils should be able to choose it as a school subject if they wish. 52% believed that it is important the North does not lose its Irish language traditions, while 49% believed it to be important to the region’s culture. 41% believed the language should be supported and encouraged throughout the North.

Finally over half of all respondents thought that Irish should be offered as an option on documents, leaflets and notices where other languages are offered.

Welcoming the findings of the survey Cloughmills Sinn Féin councillor Cathal McLaughlin said:  “I welcome the findings of this survey. It demonstrates the huge support there is for the Irish Language across the north. The language movement here in the north is hugely energetic and enthusiastic. Over the past decade there has been a significant growth in the numbers of people learning, speaking and developing the Irish Language. The huge network of Naíscoileanna, bunscoileanna and gaelscoileanna across the north in recent years are just one small measure of this.

“As a political party, we have also tried to facilitate the demand locally to learn the language by employing an Irish Language Development officer who oversees the expansion of ‘ranganna’ or classes throughout the district.

“Additionally we provide bursaries to the large number of people who go to Gaeltacht areas to improve on their conversational Irish throughout the year. Locally we have witnessed such need and demand, as was outlined in the survey.”

Cllr McLaughlin concluded by saying:  “In welcoming this report I would also call on local people to get involved with the development of the Irish Language by joining the various classes throughout the district and play your part in developing our ‘teanga duchais’ or native language.


Paráid mhór Ghaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh

May 18, 2012

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

On an unjust Irish oral examination

May 18, 2012

A leaving cert student writes:

I have just taken my Leaving Certificate Irish oral exams. In my experience, these exams, which are worth 40 per cent of the Irish mark, are conducted in an unjust and utterly inadequate way. I spoke to friends in my own and other schools about their experiences and discovered many anomalies and problems.

The problems experienced in various schools, as related to me by peers, range from examiners not being fluent in the language they are supposedly testing to the tests being carried out in different ways from one school to the next. Once again, I would like to make it clear that these problems were experienced in a number of schools, not just one, and these stories were heard from a number of different students.

A quick example: The new oral contains a section called “sraith pictúirí”’ or 20 short stories based on a sequence of pictures.

Many students found this to be the hardest part of the exam as it required you to know and explain 20 different short stories in Irish. The story was meant to be chosen at random in the exam so that we would have no notion of what we would get. Here lies the inconsistency.

In a number of schools (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons) the examiner asked the students which picture they had a preference for and proceeded to take that picture and examine the students on it. What this means is that you now have some students getting to choose their favourite picture, while with other students it isleft purely to chance. These pictures range in difficulty.

If these exams were of no significance I would not be writing this letter. However, these orals are worth two or three grades by themselves and can determine the results you get. And when students are competing against each other for a limited number of places in college, it is simply unjust. A number of other students reported to me that the examiner was not fluent enough to cope with their standard and told one of them to just talk for 10 minutes, instead of asking any questions.

This raises the question of screening. Do these same people end up correcting the Leaving Cert exam papers? If it is the case that these same examiners have the same lack of interest in the work they do correcting exams over the summer, it unfortunately undermines the entire system.

While I appreciate that it is a difficult task to monitor the vast number of examiners across the country, something must be done to fix the problems outlined above. A screening process must be either put in place or rectified (if it already exists) to ensure that the reputation and relevance of the Leaving Certificate is maintained.

This column is designed to give a voice to those within the education system who wish to speak out anonymously. Contributions are welcome.
E-mail sflynn@irishtimes.com


Coláiste Samhraidh i gCeatharlach

May 18, 2012

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Disadvantaged Primary Schools

May 18, 2012

A chara, –
We, the parents of Scoil Bhreandáin, Eachléim, Blacksod, Co Mayo, write in relation to the withdrawal of a concessionary post from our school on August 31st.

A Gaeltacht school, we are one of 16 rural disadvantaged primary schools which Enda Kenny has chosen to abandon. When cuts to Deis urban schools were reversed, under pressure from Labour TDs, 140 concessionary posts were saved. However, there was a blanket cut on the remaining 16 posts located in rural Ireland. How significant is this from a rural-based Taoiseach? When these posts were allocated, they were done so on the basis of disadvantaged status. Today these 140 posts are being saved on that same basis; however, our rural disadvantage is being ignored. This is a cruel injustice.

Some 80 per cent of us are without third-level education, with 60 per cent male unemployment, 58 per cent female unemployment, with 29 per cent with primary education only, and 50 per cent without work skills. These are but some of the frightening statistics that Enda Kenny has chosen to ignore in his home county. Perhaps he felt our story would fade into oblivion.

The loss of this concessionary teacher at one of the most difficult times our economy has ever faced is going to add to the level of disadvantage that children in peripheral rural communities already face. Our school lost a permanent post in 2011 through the abolition of the Deis rural co-ordinator and will lose another permanent post in 2015.

Our school will lose 66 per cent of its teaching staff in 48 months when GAM [General Allocation Model] hours are factored in.

As a Gaeltacht school at the tip of the Mullet peninsula, we are surrounded by water on three sides. We are on the periphery of Mayo, Ireland and northwestern Europe. So much so that a weather forecast sent from Blacksod actually deferred D-Day landings in 1944! “An ghaoth aduaidh bíonn sé cruaidh.” Unfortunately, our own Government TDs – Enda Kenny, Michael Ring, John O’Mahoney and Michelle Mulherin – are now helping a fierce northerly wind in 2012.

Iarann muid orthu an fód a sheasamh do mhuintir na tuaithe agus a mhunitir féin. All children should be cherished equally, regardless of their address.

– Yours, etc,

agus tuismitheoirí eile,
Scoil Bhreandáin,
Blacksod, Co Mayo


Teanga agus Trioblóidí

May 18, 2012

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Mass through Irish

May 18, 2012

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Coláiste Ráithín Public Meeting 29th May

May 17, 2012

Parents of Coláiste Raithín have sent an Invitation to all Wicklow TD’s, Co. Wicklow VEC and Bray Town Councillors to come to an Open Public Meeting on Tuesday, the 29th May 2012 in Coláiste Raithín.

Cairde Ráithín, Coláiste Ráithín’s Parents Association, and all its feeder schools are holding an Open Public Meeting in Coláiste Ráithín on Tuesday, 2nd May 2012, at 8pm, to meet with the 5 Co. Wicklow TD’s, Co. Wicklow VEC and Bray Town Councillors to discuss the latest letter from the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, T.D. to Bray Councillor John Brady.  This letter outlined that there would be no possibility whatsoever for a new school building for Coláiste Ráithín for the foreseeable future.

Following on the two protest marches to both the Department of Education & Skills and to Dáil Éireann, parents intend to keep pressure on those responsible to the local education community by holding this open meeting on Tuesday, the 29th May in order to insist that a way forward is found out of this nightmare for Coláiste Raithín.

Since 1994, management, staff and parents in Coláiste Ráithín have been working towards a new building for Coláiste Ráithín.  Seventeen years after the Department of Education first sanctioned a new building, Coláiste Ráithín is still in the same position – on 2 separate sites in Bray town centre with 50% accommodation in portacabins.  There are little recreational and there are no sports facilities.  Despite this, the school is one of the best schools in Wicklow and South Dublin and pupils continue to thrive academically.   Coláiste Ráithín is the top non-fee paying school in Leinster outside of Dublin in the just-released 2012 school league tables and in the top ten non-fee paying schools nationwide.

After 6 months in negotiations with the Minister, the Department of Education and Skills;  Wicklow VEC (the patrons of Coláiste Raithín);  Wicklow T.D.’s and Bray Town Council, no real progress whatsoever, has been made for a new building.  The Minister’s letter to Councillor Brady is final proof that Coláiste Raithín is at the very bottom of everyone’s priority list.  Parents are now fed up with this situation.  They insist that to say there are no plans at all for a new building in the next 10 – 20 years is an absolute non-runner, and not acceptable to this large community and they further insist their concerns be dealt with now.

This open meeting will be an opportunity for the Co. Wicklow TD’s, Co. Wicklow VEC and Bray Town Councillors to explain to parents and pupils why this situation has been allowed to continue for so long, and how they propose to change the Minister’s, and the Department of Education’s, mind.

NOTE: A relocated Coláiste Ráithín, in its entirety, includes staff, ethos and existing policies, including its current policies of admission for all its feeder schools in the area outlined above.


For further information, please contact: Paul Moore, spokesperson from Coiste Cóiríochta Coláiste Ráithín / 086 838 5049 /

Members of north Wicklow community can sign the petition in hard copy at Coláiste Ráithín or online at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/colaisteraithinnewschoolbuilding2014/

Notes to editors:
A Summary of the history of the relocation efforts for Coiste Cóiríochta Coláiste Ráithín is available. Please email pmoore@iol.ie for more information or phone Paul Moore on 086 838 5049

Maths Revision Course

May 17, 2012

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Revised Rules for Gleo

May 15, 2012

Foras na Gaeilge would like to remind principals, school teachers and students that the GLEO scheme will run from now until May 31st. If schools want to enter this scheme there are application forms available on the Foras na Gaeilge website at www.gaeilge.ie/gleo.

The GLEO scheme, which has been run by Foras na Gaeilge for the past six years, awards English-speaking schools for leading the way in promoting spoken Irish in their schools and communities throughout the year. Entrants this year are encouraged to make a short video about their school showing how the use of spoken Irish is actively encouraged and developed in their respective schools. The video clip entries must reach Foras na Gaeilge by May 31 and may be submitted through the Foras na Gaeilge website.

In 2011 fifty four schools from across the length and breadth of the island of Ireland entered the GLEO competition and were visited by independent judges, who then selected the seventeen outstanding.  The judges found websites, drama and puppet shows, quizzes and passionate debates, to name but a few of the varied activities, all run as Gaeilge.

Examples of the events and activities that schools have organised in past schemes are available at www.gaeilge.ie/gleo.

For further information, please contact:

Natasha Fennell, Stillwater Communications
T: 01 6770630   E: natasha@stillwater.ie

Sinéad Ní Bhraoin, Stillwater Communications

T: 01 677 0630   E: sinead@stillwater.ie

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