The Minister for Education In Ireland has responded to concerns expressed by the Celtic League about funding of Irish medium schools. The issue was discussed at the League AGM in Mannin in July and a resolution from Irish branch delegates was adopted (see link):
A copy of the letter from our GS is set out below together with Minister Coughlan’s response:
“Dear Minister Mary Coughlan TD
On 30th August 2010 the Irish medium school Gaelscoil Ráthó opened its doors to the public, but did so without receiving funding or recognition from the Department of Education. This has placed a huge financial burden on the parents and founders of the school, who now have to rely on donations and non governmental grants to continue.
We are aware that there is currently a moratorium on the process of state funding of Irish medium primary schools, which has been in place for the past two years while the funding process has been under review. However it seems clear that under the new system the Department of Education now favours, schools will only be funded if they are located in growth areas. What concerns the Celtic League in the case of Gaelscoil Ráthó though is that the school is in a growth area itself, but the government has still chosen not to fund the new school. I would therefore like to ask you, on behalf of the Celtic League, what the reasoning is behind this decision not to fund Gaelscoil Ráthó.
Following our annual general meeting this year I am compelled to express the view of our members that the new government policy of only funding some Irish medium schools if they are set up in certain areas is a deeply worrying development. This new policy will not only hinder efforts to found Irish medium schools across the country, but it will also jeopardise the revival of the language itself. The policy also totally ignores the widespread proven demand for Irish medium education throughout the country, with much of the demand for
new schools arising in areas that are not currently experiencing a population growth. The people who are living in areas that are not experiencing population growth are being unfairly penalised and in effect being discriminated against for wanting to send their children to an Irish medium school.
We therefore request that you put an end to these polices that are threatening the development of the Irish language in Ireland.
“Subject: RE: Gaelscoil Ráthó
Mr. Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
PLEASE QUOTE REF NUMBER ON ALL CORRESPONDENCE
Our Ref: 1006648
Dear Mr. Tal-e-bot
Thank you for your recent email in relation to Gaelscoil Ráthó.
Based on a detailed analysis of the increase in pupil numbers for September 2010 and the capacity in existing schools in Ratoath, and taking into consideration information received from the patron bodies in relation to Ratoath, the Department was satisfied that all pupil numbers could be catered for in existing schools and that a new school was not required in the area for September 2010.
The situation in relation to the requirement for additional school provision in the Ratoath area will be reviewed for September 2011 in light of needs and consultation with the patron bodies. If, following Forward Planning Sections analysis of future school requirements, it is deemed that significant additional accommodation is required in Ratoath the Department will, as was done in 2009, carry out detailed consultation with all patron bodies in relation to how this additional accommodation might be provided.
I hope this information is of assistance.
Mary Coughlan T.D.
Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills”
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information