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Ratoath Gaelscoil to proceed without departmental recognition

April 29, 2010

The founding committee of Gaelscoil Ráth Tó have announced that they are to set up the school without departmental recognition in September 2010. Speaking on behalf of the committee chairperson, Anita Sheppard, stated that they were being assisted in this endeavour by the parents and by a number of Irish-language organisations who are also determined to see Gaelscoil Ráth Tó open. The organisations in question are An Foras Pátrúnachta, Glór na nGael, Comhluadar, Conradh na Gaeilge and Gaelscoileanna Teo. The collective campaign has been names Aitheantas (Irish for ‘Recognition’).

“Despite the refusal of the Department of Education to recognise the school, even though new school provision is needed in Ratoath, we have decided to proceed with establishing the school on an un-official basis with the generous support of the Irish-language organisations mentioned. We aim to place heavy pressure on the Department to recognise this school. We are working with individuals in the Irish-language organisations mentioned who have extensive professional experience in running Irish-language schools and we are all confident of achieving the Department’s recognition,” Anita Sheppard stated.

“We have seen huge demand shown for this school in Ratoath, but the Department refuses to differentiate between new schools on the basis of the language of tuition in the school. This means that the Irish-language rights of both parents and children are being disregarded and everyone involved in this campaign believes that this is a situation that cannot continue. Not only do we want to see Gaelscoil Ráth Tó recognised, but we wish to see the Department change their criteria for the recognition of new schools, which is currently stacked again new Irish-language schools. The result of this is that no new Gaelscoil has been approved since 2008 and the Department have not indicated that this situation will change,” he continued.

“This is as much a national issue as a local one for the Gaelscoileanna movement, which is one of the fastest growing education sectors in Ireland. We would simply like to see a fairer approach by the Department regarding the setting up of schools that teach through the medium of the first language of the state, according to Article 8 of Bunreacht na hÉireann.