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New Ratoath gaelscoil opens despite lack of official recognition

September 2, 2010

Gaelscoil Ráth Tó, the unofficial Irish-language primary school for Ratoath, opened its doors on Monday, without State recognition or funding from the Government. Ten new pupils started on Monday, with spaces still available for any prospective attendees.

Opening day comes two years after efforts first began to establish such a school in Ratoath, and a nationwide campaign began this spring by a number of Irish-language organisations to pressurise the Department of Education to recognise the school officially.
Establishing committee chairperson Anita Sheppard said: “The school will be funded purely by voluntary donations by Irish-language organisations both in Ireland and abroad, from various community supporters and from fundraising conducted by the school’s authorities and parents.”

She said the ultimate aim is to get State recognition as soon as possible and efforts continue to that end in the form of continuous lobbying of political and civil service representatives and also efforts to draw as much media attention to our cause as possible, locally, nationally and even internationally.”
“The Department of Education announced in late 2009 that a new school would be needed in Ratoath, based on demographic projections and those involved in lobbying for the Gaelscoil were confident that they would be recognised as the new school for Ratoath.

However, the Department changed this analysis in February 2010 and announced that no new school would be established in Ratoath in 2010, despite their earlier claims, something which was a deep disappointment to all involved in the campaign, especially to those wishing to send their child to the Gaelscoil in 2010.”
Gaelscoileanna are the fastest growing sector in Irish education today; however, no new gaelscoileanna have been given official recognition since 2008 and many involved in Irish-language education and promotion felt that the growth of Irish-language education was being hindered by the official authorities and that a stand had to be taken on the issue of the recognition of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó, not just as a local issue, but as a national one about official facilitating of Irish-language education.

Meath Chronicle – John Donohoe
01 Meán Fómhair 2010