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Gaelscoileanna Teo. General Election Campaign

May 3, 2007

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. today launched a national campaign – ‘FAIR ACCOMMODATION NOW! – DEMANDING A PERMANENT SOLUTION‘ as part of the organisation’s policy to address the current and ongoing accommodation crisis in Irish-medium schools at primary level. GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’ s campaign is being organised to coincide with the general election with the purpose of focusing politicians minds on an issue that has afflicted the Irish-medium education sector for a long number of years.

There has been steady growth and development in the Irish-medium sector in the last 30 years but the number of schools awaiting permanent accommodation is increasing rather than decreasing. Launching the campaign, GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’s President, Mícheál Ó Broin stated, "The accommodation crisis at primary and post-primary levels is a challenge that needs to be urgently addressed. Little progress has been made on this issue, and the campaign reiterates GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’ s call on the Government and politicians to face up to their responsibilities in regard to putting agreed systems in place for the benefit of the children in this country".

The facts reveal that:-

Ø 53% of gaelscoileanna at primary level (of 131 in the 26 counties) are without permanent accommodation, i.e. 69 schools.

Ø Of the 29 schools that have opened since 1998 none have permanent accommodation.

Ø Of the 58 schools that have opened since 1994 – 52 schools are still without permanent accommodation.

40 schools are waiting at least 10 years for permanent accommodation and of those 9 are waiting 20 years or longer.

The main findings of the survey conducted among schools are presented as part of the package launched today as well as proposed solutions to the current crisis. GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. also launched a document outlining the organisation’s demands on the government to improve the Irish medium sector as a whole.

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 163 primary schools and 38 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish. 5 new Irish medium primary schools will open in September 2007 as well as 4 post-primary schools.

Further Information:

Mícheál Ó Broin, Gaelscoileanna President 087-9467700

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. Office: 01-4773155



(93% (122 schools) returned a completed questionnaire which investigated the current accommodation situation of 131 primary schools in the 26 counties, outside of the Gaeltacht)


Ongoing Crisis

The accommodation crisis in the Irish-medium education sector has been ongoing for many years. The number of schools awaiting permanent accommodation is increasing rather than decreasing. It is unacceptable that parents are obliged to contribute or fund-raise to supplement rental payments from the Department of Education and Science. This crisis was recognized in the Programme for Government, 2002:

"A comprehensive review of the needs of all Gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht schools will be undertaken. As part of the work of the Department of Education & Science, the physical condition of all buildings used by these schools will be reviewed and a programme put in place to ensure that they meet required standards."

Unfortunately, very little progress has been made on this urgent issue. Any achievements to date are totally insufficient. It is obvious that the current system is failing to deal with the problem. This issue needs to be prioritised by the Government, as promised. Unsuitable temporary arrangements must be ended and we demand of the Department of Education and Science to provide a safe and suitable learning environment for all our pupils.


53% of gaelscoileanna without permanent accommodation

There are 131 Irish-medium primary schools in the country (excluding 5 new schools due to open in September 2007). At present 69 of these are in temporary accommodation, i.e. 53%.

Of the 29 schools that have opened since 1998 none have permanent accommodation.

Of the 58 schools that have opened since 1994 – 52 are still without permanent accommodation, constituting 90% of the total for this period.

104 schools have opened between 1983 agus 2006. 69 schools, i.e. 66%, are still without permanent accommodation. Of these:-

• 34 schools opened between 1983 agus 1989 – 10 are without permanent accommodation (i.e. 29%).

• 51 schools opened between 1990 agus 1999 – 40 are without permanent accommodation (i.e. 78%).

• 19 schools opened between 2000 agus 2006 – 19 are without permanent accommodation (i.e. 100%)

40 schools are waiting at least 10 years for permanent accommodation and of those 9 are waiting 20 years or longer.



59% gaelscoileanna in unsuitable accommodation.

59% of primary schools, encompassing both permanent and temporary accommodation, responded stating that their school’s accommodation is unsuitable.

Amongst the reasons given were the following:-

Prefabricated Classrooms

· 22 schools completely dependent on prefabricated buildings.

· 25 other schools using prefabricated buildings.

Old Buildings
– for example old storerooms, TB hospital, and related difficulties such as high heating costs, windows which cannot be opened, holes in roof/floors, damp etc.

Sharing Space
sharing space with sports clubs and the related difficulties such as lack of storage space and lack of privacy.
insufficient toilet facilities for pupils and staff.

Deficits in Schools

· 49 (40%) of schools have either no hall or lack a suitable hall

· 33 (27%) of schools lacking sufficient space and/or sufficient classrooms

· 13 (11%) of schools that cannot physically expand and therefore cannot satisfy local demand for places

· 23 (19%) of schools have either no staff-room or lack a suitable staff-room

· 19 (16%) of schools have either no learning support room or lack a suitable learning support room

· 18 (15%) of schools either have no schoolyard or lack a suitable schoolyard

· 9 (7.5%) of schools lack a suitable special needs resource room.

Other basic deficits:

· offices,

· playing fields,

· storage space,

Samples of schools with accommodation deficits:

· Lack of hall, staff-room, special needs room agus storage space

· Lack of hall, learning support room, storage space and proper offices

· Although there is high demand for places in the school, they cannot guarantee places to parents. Presently lack a hall, staff-room and storage area.

· One toilet for 100 pupils, sharing space with a G.A.A. Club and using prefabricated buildings. 11 years waiting for the Department to provide permanent solution.

· Depending completely on prefabricated buildings that are in very poor condition. A site has been earmarked for 5 years now but no progress has been made.

3 schools in temporary accommodation stated that there was uncertainty surrounding the location of the school for the coming school year.



13% of gaelscoileanna concerned with health and Safety issues.

16 schools (13%) felt that they had health and safety issues in their schools. Samples include:

Holes in the roof and floor, leaks, heat and electrical difficulties, all rooms upstairs, car-park in use as playground, etc.

RENTAL COSTS OF SCHOOLS (without permanent accommodation)

Over €4,500,000 spent on rent each year

Of the 58 schools that responded to the question on rental costs€4,500,000 is being paid in total each year on rent.


A small number of the 69 schools without permanent accommodation are presently on the planning list within the Department but urgent action is required to eliminate the scandalously long wait being endured by many of the other schools. Accordingly, we demand:
that priority be given within the Planning Section of the Department to address the accommodation crisis in schools with permanent recognition that are housed in temporary accommodation.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. fully accepts that schools may have to start out in temporary accommodation but ‘temporary’ should mean temporary. Accordingly, we demand:
that proactive planning take place to provide suitable sites through an agreed structure involving the Department of Education and Science and Local Authorities.
that Local Authorities be legally obliged to designate a suitable site for a school as soon as that school has received permanent recognition, as well as having powers of compulsory purchase.
that the Office of Public Works (O.P.W.) be legally obliged to purchase a site for a school within three years of the school receiving permanent recognition.

In the meantime no school, whether newly founded or not, should have to suffer in unsuitable accommodation. Therefore, we demand:
that a minimum standard of accommodation, in terms of both space and physical condition, be put in place immediately and that agreement be made with each school on the timescale for the temporary accommodation.

It is entirely unacceptable that schools in temporary accommodation must fundraise to supplement rental payments from the Department. Therefore, we demand:
that the Department pay 100% of all rental and associated site costs for schools with permanent recognition, and
that in the case of schools without permanent recognition the difference between 75% and 100% of rental costs be repaid to schools once permanent recognition has been granted.