The Green Party has today welcomed the finding by An Coimisinéir Teanga that the Department of Education and Skills breached the law by not appropriately considering Irish language requirements in choosing a patron for a new school.
Speaking as the office of An Comisinéir Teanga launched their 2017 Annual Report, Green Party Irish Language spokesperson Peter Kavanagh said, “Given that nearly a quarter of all parents would choose to send their children to a Gaelscoil, but have only 8.3% of schools to choose from, it’s a watershed moment for Irish education. Language rights are fundamental, and for the Department of Education to refuse to consider the demands of, in one example alone, the parents and families of 733 children in north Dublin, was a flagrant breach of these rights.”
Irish-medium schools tend to be oversubscribed and students often end up having to travel greater distances to schools located in other districts or are forced to attend English-medium schools when the option of education through the Irish language is not available to them. Kavanagh said this situation should not be allowed to continue.
“It should be, and indeed is, the right of every Irish resident – regardless of origin, religion or cultural background – to access education through the medium of the first language of the State, and to reap the well-documented benefits of multilingualism. We welcome the Commissioner’s decision, and the Department of Education’s reversal of their policy regarding the Gaelscoil in Drumcondra and Marino. The answer to the oversubscription of Gaelscoileanna is more Gaelscoileanna, not stricter conditions of entry.”