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Official Recognition for the Early-Immersion Education System in Gaelscoileanna

February 16, 2010

Gaelscoileanna throughout Ireland are celebrating today’s announcment that circular 0044/2007 in relation to Language and Literacy in Infant Classes in Irish-medium schools has been officially withdrawn. The Department of Education and Science’s decision to withdraw the controversial circular and to grant official recognition to the early-immersion education system has been warmly welcomed by GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.  The Department’s decision follows a period of intense campaigning in the sector since the release of circular 0044/2007 in 2007. The predominant demand of the campaign, the withdrawal of the circular, has now been achieved. The outstanding demands, which include agreement on the official models of early-immersion education in gaelscoileanna as well as implementation of a programme of research to form the basis of strengthening the immersion education system, will be considered and agreed in a consultative manner with stakeholders.

The decision opens the door to the necessary and comprehensive development of the early-immersion education system in gaelscoileanna. The next step in the process will involve publication of a draft statutory instrument referring to the early-immersion education system, which will be presented and agreed with stakeholders.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. extends its congratulations to the plaintiffs in the legal case and also its gratitude to the organisation’s delegation who engaged in discussions with the Department throughout the campaign in an effort to resolve the crisis.  GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.  also acknowledges the central role played by Irish-langaue partners, ed,ucation partners and the teacher unions in particular throughout the campaign.

C.E.O. of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, stated, “this is very positive news and we whole-heartedly welcome the Department’s decision to strengthen the Irish-medium education sector, thereby allowing schools to continue to implement the most effective system of language acquisition available. This departure illustrates the positive effect of collaborative efforts and we are very grateful to all in the sector, including schools for their unrelenting lobbying  as well as to the plaintiffs who fought against the enforcement of the circular since its publication.”

Mícheál Ó Broin, Uachtarán of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. acknowledges the collaborative work with the Department of Education and Science, “we are very grateful to the delegation within the Department who engaged with us in advancing the issue. Their decision illustrates their understanding of the importance and success of the system and we are looking forward to continued collaboration with them regarding the models of early-immersion education to be officially recognised as well as the development of resources and research required to strengthen the system.”

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 42 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish.


Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin                    01 8535195

Mícheál Ó Broin                                   087-9467700