Out Of Your Scoil


This afternoon

A new system for granting exemptions from the study of Irish announced this morning could have serious implications, says Irish-language activist group Conradh na Gaeilge.

Under the new system, psychological assessment will no longer be necessary to process an application and students in special schools will no longer have to apply for an exemption.

Conradh na Gaeilge ius calling on the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh to “develop a policy for the teaching of Irish from pre-school to university which would deal with the question of exemptions”.

President of Conradh the Gaeilge, Niall Comer, said:

“Conradh na Gaeilge agrees with Minister Joe McHugh that bilingualism provides additional benefits for the student, particularly in learning a third language and maths.

It is unfortunate, therefore, that the Minister did not propose to put in place a system that reduces the reasons why pupils seek exemption in the first place by significantly changing the system rather than implementing the proposed new system from the beginning of September.

For example, a pupil with learning difficulties, particularly with writing, could do Irish for the Leaving Certificate based on the oral exam which would ensure that the pupil is included in the Irish class, rather than being excluded. This would give the pupil the opportunity to study Irish based on their ability”.

Julian de Spáinn, the General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge added:

“We are not surprised at the outcome of the consultation regarding the new system of granting exemptions. It was clear from the survey used by the Department in early January that the Department was not seeking new proposals to significantly reduce the need for exemptions, nor ensuring that as many pupils as possible are included in learning Irish, and not excluded.

Principals will be pressured to make decisions on exemptions from September and they will not have expert reports from psychologists to assist them in those decisions”.

Conradh Na Gaeilge


You cannot make people do what they don’t want to do. Its unfair and self defeating. It is particularly unfair to do it with children, many of whom struggle with Irish in primary school. This is why it is good news that the government is to allow more exemptions for these cases But it is not enough and we should be looking at removing the compulsory aspect altogether.

Ireland is now a multi-cultural and diverse society, thankfully, and the days of a narrow definition of nationality are gone. It is about choice. And if the Irish language movement was confident of itself, and of what it represents, it would readily accept this

Eamon Delaney: ‘Irish language should not be compulsory, especially for struggling school children’ (Independent.ie)

Earlier: A Limerick A Day

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40 thoughts on “Out Of Your Scoil

      1. eoin

        You can see the same paid-for internal logic “give the individual choice in health/education, don’t force the individual to take action to protect their health/culture”.

    1. Bort

      it should be compulsory but taught properly, like German or French. Higher level Irish is the same as higher level English but in Irish, it’s extremely difficult. You’re not expected to learn off a poem, a play and a book in German or French! Why is there students leaving 2nd level after 5 years with better spoke Spanish than Irish after 13? The curriculum is at fault.

      1. kellyma

        Agreed on the format of the curriculum. It is up its own backside and clings pointlessly to the statement that Irish is our first language. By and large it is not. It is not the language that the majority of people use to go about their daily lives. German and French are also not compulsory, by the way. I speak fluent German and used to speak fluent Irish. It is all about it’s use in your daily life. I use German in my job every day and my Irish is starting to return to where it was because i have two children in a Gaelscoil and make a point of using it together.

  1. Shane Duffy

    All schools should be made Gael scoileanna. They are thriving everywhere, even Synge Street has done it. Kids come out fluent in English and Irish.

  2. postmanpat

    The Savage Eye sketch about the Irish speaking family refusing to speak English to an increasingly confused Asian shopkeeper is the most accurate portrayal of gaeilgeoirs on TV.

  3. Ads

    I suspect that if Google et al came out and revealed how many Gaelscoil kids they hire there would be a sudden rush to train teachers properly.

  4. Roger Opinions

    Let it die.

    Token Irish is a waste of money.

    You want to learn it? Pay for it.

    But this country is used to wasting money and getting nothing in return.

    Gaelskuuuūls are the exception, learning through immersion. Most schools that have that weird Irish teacher doing the bare minimum is a joke. And everyone knows it.

    Here come the honors swots now, with their “hilarious” Gaeltacht stories… yawn

    1. Brother Barnabas

      Fan go dtí go gcloiseann tú an ceann seo: mar sin bhí mé síos sa tSean-Ghaeltacht agus níor thug Bean an Tí dom ar leataobh ar Lá a hAon, tarraing mé isteach sa phantry agus lick agus stróc mo bod go dtí gur phléasc mé a aghaidh leis an uachtar Baile átha Cliath. Chuir sí abhaile mé an tráthnóna sin chun Béarla a labhairt.

      1. Paulus

        Tar eis e seo; ba mhaith liom dul go dti an Gaelteacht. Ta bron orm mar nil fadas ar mo phone…as opposed to mo thon!

        1. Col

          There are fadas on all the phones.
          Usually, you hold down the vowel until the magical accents appear.

    2. Pip

      A teacher once told me that doing Irish as part of your primary degree does not necessarily indicate a grá for the language/culture. Rather it’s a useful box tick in getting a teaching post later on.
      Result is a lot of teachers who actually couldn’t give a toss, and it shows.

  5. Clampers Outside!

    I do presume that the Conradh na Gaeilge spokespeople originally gave their comment as Gaeilge, you know, because they’ve done such a great job of managing the teaching of it to so many pupils for 12 compulsory years… cad, wha’ …”cad”, no cod, wha’

  6. Mé Féin

    “You cannot make people do what they don’t want to do. Its unfair and self defeating. It is particularly unfair to do it with children, many of whom do not want to go to school.” Fixed it for ya.

  7. Cú Chulainn

    The problem with Irish is that the language comes with a political charge and children are turned away from that. We’ve had compulsory Irish for over 100 years and you won’t hear it spoken in Connemara. Time for a radical change.

    1. ReproBertie

      There is no problem with Irish. It’s just a language. The problem is with people’s hang ups about it.

      1. Cú Chulainn

        Virtually the entire country..? After 13 years of compulsory classes can’t string a sentence together. Ok. There is no problem with Gaelic. But there is a problem with how that language is taught.

    2. Ciuncainteach

      You will hear it spoken in Connemara, but you may have to travel further west than Spiddal.

      Your point of the ‘political charge’ being off-putting to children needs expansion.

  8. Pip

    All subjects should be equally optional, beyond an established useful level.
    Don’t suffer, play to your strengths.
    If that’s getting top marks in maths and going on to do engineering, fine.
    But don’t make that individual suffer in Shakespeare if they don’t want to.
    And yes, I am a survivor of Peig.

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