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Ashbourne and Ratoath to get merged Gaelscoil

March 31, 2011

Ashbourne is to get a second Gaelscoil, and parents in Ratoath who were hoping to have their Irish school recognised by the Department of Education, are to merge this school with the new Ashbourne establishment.

The announcement that An Foras Pátrúnachta is to oversee the setting up of a new school in Ashbourne comes just weeks after an Educate Together school was earmarked for the town. Ashbourne already has a long-established Irish school, Gaelscoil na Cille. The new Gaelscoil and Gaelscoil Ráth Tó will merge to form an additional gaelscoil for the area which will be called Gaelscoil na Mí, according to Seán Ó Buachalla, of the board of management of the Ratoath school. Mr Ó Buachalla said that the board, the school’s supporters and all the Irish-language organisations involved in the ‘Aitheantas’ campaign were pleased that the Department had finally acknowledged the need for additional provision for Irish-language primary education in the area and hoped that this would lead to quicker recognition of new gaelscoileanna in the future. “The final location of the school has not been confirmed as of yet, but all those involved are committed to getting a choice location that will service both Ratoath and Ashbourne equally,” he said.

“The founders and local supporters of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó would like to express our deep appreciation to our patron body, Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge, and to all the Irish language organisations who provided us with invaluable support through the ‘Aitheantas’ campaign, both financially and in terms of lobbying the state on our behalf as well as to our first establishing teacher, Tricia Ní Mhaolagáin. Their support has helped a great deal to bring this solution about and we are delighted to have finally filled an educational gap in our area,” he added. Meath East Labour TD, Dominic Hannigan, said: “The opening of the new gaelscoil in September is welcome news but the Department of Education is still working on finding a suitable location. Among the options currently being considered are temporary classrooms in a local GAA club and a site on the Ratoath side of Ashbourne. I will be keeping up the pressure on the Minister for Education to tell me where Ashbourne’s new Gaelscoil will be located and when we can expect work to start.”

The Meath East TD is also keen to reassure parents that they will have a choice in what language their children are taught in.  “The Department maintains the opening of the Gaelscoil will free up enough places in local national schools to cater for the student demand in both languages,” said Deputy Hannigan. He recently published a report, ‘Education in Meath’ which revealed that, as one of Meath’s fastest-growing urban areas, Ashbourne has a significant problem with school capacity. Since 2005, there has been a 17 per cent increase in enrolments in Ashbourne primary schools. One primary school in Ashbourne had an over-subscription of some 60 applicants in September 2010. Parents interested in enrolling their children in Ashbourne’s new Gaelscoil should contact An Foras Pátrúnachta, on (01) 805 7740 or email eolas@foras.ie
Parents who wish to enrol children in Ashbourne’s new Educate Together school in opening 2012 should contact Marie Ronan on (086) 387 3994 or email her at ashbourneeducatetogether@gmail.com

The Meath Chronicle – John Donohoe