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Negotiating the quagmire of Irish exemptions and college applications

March 6, 2014

Every year there are a number of CAO applicants who may not be taking Irish for the Leaving Certificate.

This may be as a result of a learning difficulty, other types of disabilities or because they were educated outside of the State until after fifth class in primary school. As a result of these difficulties some students may also not be taking a European language for Leaving Certificate. This may have implications for matriculation to some institutions. A number of universities require students to have a pass grade in Irish in order to meet the matriculation requirements. These institutions include University College Dublin (UCD) University College Cork (UCC), NUI Maynooth and NUI Galway. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) requires students to pass a language other than English. The University of Limerick (UL) requires students to pass English and another language. Students who do not take Irish and/or a European language will have difficulty meeting the requirements for these colleges. However, if candidates hold an exemption from Irish from the Department of Education they may apply to the institutions for an exemption from language-related entry requirements.

In order to apply for an exemption from the NUI institutions, candidates should first go to nui.ie and go to the ‘entry requirements’ section of ‘going to college.’ Here they will find PDF forms to be used to apply for a third language or Irish exemption. These must be completed and signed by the school principal. Completed forms should be sent to the NUI offices on Merrion Square, Dublin, and not to the individual institutions. There is no need for the candidate to contact the CAO or institutions directly as this will be done on their behalf if their application is successful. Applicants to TCD who may not meet the language requirement may apply to the university’s admission office for a similar exemption. Information is available from the Pathways to Trinity section of the TCD website. Similar arrangements exist for UL. If a student with a learning difficulty or hearing impairment wishes to apply to UL and does not study Irish or a European language they may apply for a language exemption by providing evidence of their disability and a copy of their certificate of exemption from Irish to the admissions office of the university. Further information can be found at the DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) and disability support section of ul.ie.

Dublin City University (DCU) requires students to have passed Maths and English for matriculation. The institutes of technology also require students to have passed maths and English. Therefore it is not necessary to apply for a language exemption for any of these institutions. It is important to remember that language exemptions and DARE are separate schemes. Students will need to make a separate application for language exemptions even with they already have submitted their DARE application. Important dates this week

Stillorgan College of Further Education Open day

March 6
DIT Portfolio Submission Moate Business College Open day

March 7
Ballyfermot College of Further education Round 1 applications close
Westport College of Further Education Open day

March 8
GMIT CAO information event
Sound Training Centre Open Day

March 11
Clonakilty Agricultural College Open Day

Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin