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Irish-Medium Education – Fundamental to the 20-year Strategy for the Irish language

November 25, 2010

Minister Pat Carey officially opened GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’s Annual Conference which was held in Tullamore on November 19th and 20th  with a timely,  and stirring speech for the large crowd of principals, teachers, esteemed guests and members of the Irish-language and education communities and organisations present.

The Minister officially recognised the pivotal role of Irish-medium schools in developing the twenty year Strategy for the Irish language and of the voluntary organisations which he sees as central to the future of Irish as a spoken language.

Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh’s dedication and contribution to the Irish-medium sector was also celebrated and he gave a rousing speech about the importance of Irish-medium education in society, throughout history and to the future of the Irish language.

Éamonn Murtagh, Assistant Chief Inspector with the Department of Education and Skills stressed the Department’s complete support for Irish-medium education and recognised the fundamental role played by Irish-medium schools and their teachers in developing and promoting the Strategy. He furthermore emphasised the values and advantages of the immersion system and referred to the progress made on the question on early-immersion education as a result of ongoing talks with GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., other organisations and the schools themselves. Ardfheidhmeannach, Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin remarked “we greatly welcome the official support and recognition of the Department for the most effective educational system in terms of language acquisition in Ireland. We look forward to consulting with the Department with regard to the immiment publication of the Draft legislative Instrument to ensure that the advantages of the immersion system are reflected in the new legislation”.

Ní Ghréacháin thanked all the Conference delegates over the two days for “contributing to the success of the Conference through their passion and active participation. It’s wonderful to see the excellent education standards in Irish-medium schools  being celebrated and I’m very grateful to the Irish-medium schools who played an active role in the debate and discussions”.

President of the organisation, Mícheál Ó Broin, called on the Department of Education and Skills to “honour its commitment in relation to developing the Irish-medium education system by investing accordingly in the system, and in particular in finding solutions to the current accommodation crisis and the  granting of recognition to new gaelscoileanna to satisfy demand.”

More than 250 delegates attended the Conference, with strong representation from both Primary and Post-Primary schools and from educational and Irish-language organisations from all over the island. The material from the sessions and speeches will be available shortly on the organisation’s website, www.gaelscoileanna.ie.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the national coordinating organisation for Irish-medium schools at primary and post-primary level. It provides assistance and support to parents and local communities who wish to found a school and it supports existing Irish-medium schools in their development.