Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on the Gaeltacht, Aindrias Moynihan has said that the Minister for Education must urgently intervene to ensure that there are enough teachers, with qualifications in education through Irish, available for Irish language secondary and primary schools across the country, but in particular in Gaeltacht communities.

Deputy Moynihan was commenting following the recent publication of the Government’s Gaeltacht Education policy which forms part of Minister Bruton’s Action Plan for Education.

“Cé go bhfuil rudaí dearfacha sa pholasaí, tá eagla orm nach bhfuil go leor bhéim curtha ar an easpa muinteorirí le cáilíochtaí sa Ghaeilge,” arsa Teachta Ó Muimhneacháin.

“Even though there are positives in this policy, I’m worried that there is not enough emphasis being put on the lack of teachers with qualifications in Irish,” said Deputy Moynihan.

“One of the measures included in this new Action Plan is the proposed introduction, at Junior Cycle, of two different strands of Irish language study – L1 and L2.

“Those who complete L1 will be able to access a much greater level of course choices at 3rd level. However, a problem will arise again if teachers of specialist subjects, such as accountancy, chemistry or physics, don’t have the level of Irish to teach.”

“At the heart of getting our education system fit for purpose for students in Gaeltacht areas is the absolute need to have teachers with sufficient Irish language competency to teach the full range of subjects.”

“Níl ach 35 céimí ón Mháistir Gairmiúil trí Gaeilge ó Ollscoil na hÉireann i nGallaimh gach bhliain. Is léir dom go bhfuil gá mór ann chun níos mó muinteoirí a oiliúint dár scoileanna i gceantair Gaeltachta.”

“Every year, there are only 35 graduates from the Professional Masters through Irish in NUI, Galway. It’s clear that there is a need for more teachers to be trained for our Gaeltacht schools.”

“I mo ghaeltacht féin, tá cuig bhunscoil agus dhá méanscoil. Go rialta, níl na príomhóidí abálta folúntais mhúinteoireachta a líonadh go tapa. Níl sé sin sásúil.”

“In my own constituency in Cork, we have five primary schools and two secondary schools based in the Muskerry Gaeltacht.  Quite regularly, they struggle to fill positions with teachers with the required qualifications in teaching through Irish.”

“There is no doubt that there is a growing interest among parents, both inside and outside the Gaeltacht, in educating their children through Irish. This requires forward planning by the Department in terms of locating Irish language schools, both primary and secondary, in areas of demand, but also ensuring that there is a sustained, and adequate supply of suitable qualified teachers.

“We wouldn’t, and shouldn’t accept it for any other area of the education system, and students in Gaeltacht areas deserve better,” concluded Moynihan.