28 November, 2018 - Expenditure on Gaeltacht Education to double in 2019 – Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D.

Minister McHugh T.D. today (Wednesday, 28 November, 2018) met with members of the Advisory Committee for the Policy for Gaeltacht Education.

The Advisory Committee, which is comprised of a wide range of stakeholders and representatives from Irish-language organisations and agencies, was established in March 2017 to support the Gaeltacht Education Unit in the implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022. Meetings of the Advisory Committee provide stakeholders with the opportunity to provide advice to the Department’s Gaeltacht Education Unit with regard to Policy implementation.

Speaking at the 6th meeting of the Advisory Council on the Policy for Gaeltacht Education, the Minister said: “It is fitting that the meeting is being convened here at Marino Institute of Education, where the delivery of our first full-time Irish-medium initial teacher education programme for primary teachers is due to commence in September 2019, as part of the implementation of the Gaeltacht Policy.”

The Minister affirmed his commitment to help promote the language. The Minister stated that his aim is to nurture the use of Irish in Gaeltacht areas and to provide high-quality education through Irish in schools and early-years settings in the Gaeltacht. He said that the Government commitment to the Policy can be seen in the significant budget increase from 1 million in 2017 to more than 2.3million in 2018.  Minister McHugh announced that spending on Gaeltacht education would double in 2019, increasing to almost 5 million, to support the implementation of Policy actions.

The Minister said: “Since the establishment of the Gaeltacht Education Unit in the Department in 2017, significant progress has been made in Policy implementation. This includes the launch of the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme, the award of contracts for the delivery of two new Irish-medium teacher education courses. The e-Hub and Forás pilot projects in post-primary Gaeltacht schools have also commenced.  It is hoped that these initiatives will assist with the provision of high quality Irish-medium education in Gaeltacht schools.”

The Minister complimented the work of the Gaeltacht Education Unit in co-ordinating the range of Policy actions implemented to date. He thanked An Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) for their important role in the implementation of the Policy, including the provision of a programme of professional development for Gaeltacht schools.

The Minister recognised the central role of the Advisory Committee for the Policy on Gaeltacht Education and the continuous support and valuable advice of members to support the effective implementation of the Policy.

At the end of his speech, the Minister said: “There has been remarkable progress up to this point.  I wish all the stakeholders every success as they work together to revive and foster the Irish language in the Gaeltacht and support the effective implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education. As the saying goes, ‘ní neart go cur le chéile’.” 

ENDS

Notes for the Editor:

  • The Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022, which was published in September 2016 following an extensive public consultation process, is being implemented on a phased basis over a five-year period.
  • The overall objective of the Policy is to ensure that high quality Irish-medium education is available to Gaeltacht communities to preserve and promote Irish as the main language of Gaeltacht communities.  Further information in relation to the Policy is available through the following link: FAQs
  • €2.3m was made available for the implementation of the Policy in 2018, up from €1m in 2017. It is expected that funding of up to €5m will be provided to support Policy implementation in 2019.
  • The Advisory Committee for the Policy on Gaeltacht Education was established in March 2017 to support the work of the Gaeltacht Education Unit in Policy implementation through the provision of advice by the Committee to the Department’s Gaeltacht Education Unit. 
  • There is a wide range of representatives from stakeholders and Irish language organisations and agencies on the Committee. Information on the membership, terms of reference and meetings of the group can be viewed on the Department’s website through the following link: Advisory-Committee
  • The meeting on the 28 November 2018 is the sixth meeting of the Committee since its establishment in March 2017.