21 December, 2009 - Minister O'Keeffe opens gaelcholáiste in Clonmel

The Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD, today  opened Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn ­- a new all-Irish unit located in the Central Technical Institute, Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

The gaelcholáiste is a six-room two-storey extension catering for 95 students.

Opening the gaelcholáiste, Minister O'Keeffe said: 'This project will play an important role in the Government's efforts to strengthen the use of Irish in education and as a living language in the community.

'My Department provided over €650,000 for the project, with €14,000 raised locally.

'My emphasis is on supporting moves towards greater oral proficiency.

'The Government has increased the marks available for oral assessment in the certificate examinations to 40pc for all new entrants beginning second-level in 2007/8. 

'That will impact on the voluntary oral in the Junior Certificate next year and on the national orals in the Leaving Certificate in 2012.

'We are investing in materials and resources in Irish for schools, particularly online resources as part of a pilot partnership plan with comedian and Irish language enthusiast Des Bishop.

'We are expanding our in-service training for teachers and incentivising more of them to spend time in the Gaeltacht to take part in training courses.

'The new facilities we are opening in Clonmel today demonstrate in stark physical terms the Government's commitment to advancing our objectives for the Irish language even in the most difficult of economic times.'