June 3, 2021
Department for Education needs to meet duty to Irish Medium Sector – Sheehan

Speaking after a presentation to the Education Committee by Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta, Education Spokesperson Pat Sheehan said the Department has to begin work immediately to meet its statutory duty to encourage and facilitate Irish Medium Education.

This presentation referenced the fact that Irish Medium is the fastest growing education sector in the North, reflecting the recent findings of a report which found that over 7000 young people are now engaged in Irish Medium Education here.

Pat Sheehan said:

“We were particularly impressed by the presentation by Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta. The passion and commitment to Irish Medium Education along with the tangible benefits for our young people was evident for all parties to see.

“The presentation highlighted some of the major issues affecting the sector as a whole.

“The provision of appropriate educational resources, the availability of specialist subject teachers but perhaps the most pressing issue facing the sector is access to modern and fit for purpose accommodation.

“Over 60% of the sector resides in prefab or modular accommodation. The rapidly growing sector  projects enrolments of 10,000 pupils in the coming years.

“The Education Act and Tracey Judgment place a duty on the Department of Education to encourage and facilitate Irish Medium Education and the minister needs to realise this duty isn’t optional, he has an obligation to engage with and address the pressing issues currently facing the sector.” 

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