07 June, 2006 - Minister Opens Gaelscoil Uí Cheithearnaigh, Ballinasloe

'Irish is the living language of this school' - Minister Hanafin

Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, T.D. today officially opened Gaelscoil Uí Cheithearnaigh in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.  Funded by the Department of Education and Science, the new 10 classroom school cost in excess of €2.7million.  The new school also includes a learning support room, a computer room, a library, an extensive hall, a resource room, a staff room, store rooms and a playground.  It currently caters for 162 students.

'This is a very important day for east Galway and for the people of Ballinasloe in particular' said Minister Hanafin.  'I have no doubt that this wonderful new school will provide Gaelscoil Uí Cheithearnaigh with the amenities and facilities o support the provision of a broad and balanced education for each of its students and at the same time it will create an environment that will enhance the learning and speaking of our native language.'

Outlining recent initiatives that have been introduced  to strengthen the teaching and support of Irish in the curriculum, Minister Hanafin said 'my Department and the Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta are working continuously to support the teaching of Irish in the educational system, and to meet the special needs of Gaeltacht and all-Irish schools.

We have recently advertised to recruit an additional 30 Cuiditheorí to work with teachers in schools to improve fluency in the language.  Funding will be available from next year for summer day camps with the emphasis on learning Irish through sports and games.  Teachers will be encouraged through a 'Dramaíocht trí Ghaeilge' in-service day to provide innovative ways of teaching Irish to make it fun for children.'

Speaking on the Gaelscoil tradition Minister Hanafin said 'Irish was the link that fostered the cooperation that brought about the foundation of this Gaelscoil.  Irish is the living language of this school, inside and outside the classroom, which provides opportunities to keep alive and foster the tradition of spoken Irish in the district.'
Minister Hanafin thanked the management of Gaelscoil Uí Cheithearnaigh, the teachers and parents for their commitment and dedication in establishing the school and wished all continued success in the new school.