Education Politics

North of Ireland Minister for Education is Failing in her Irish Language Statutory Obligations – Aontu   

Aontú Representative for East Derry Gemma Brolly demands immediate response and action from the Minister of Education to the ‘unanswered’ open letter from “An Gréasán” expressing concerns for the lack of provision enabling the study of the Irish language.

Following years of continuous neglect to honour the Good Friday Agreement by honouring the statutory obligation to “encourage and facilitate Irish medium education” many citizens from a range of professional backgrounds under the network “An Gréasán” signed and delivered a letter to the current minister of Education, Michelle McIlveen detailing their many concerns and calling upon “the legislative bodies of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Department of Education and their arm’s length bodies, such as CCEA, as well as the Education Authority, to intercede as matter of urgency to reverse the worrying trends in the study of the Irish language and other languages in English medium post-primary schools.”

This professional body of people, citizens of the North of Ireland communicated their deep concerns, giving thorough explanations and possible solutions, trusting these concerns would be addressed by the Minister of Education and her department in a polite and timely manner. I am extremely disappointed and disheartened to learn that “An Gréasan” have to this date not yet received a response, even when it was stated ‘urgent’ and even when it was sent again in case it had been ‘misplaced.’

This is absolutely inexcusable. “An Gréasan” have echoed the concerns here of hundreds, thousands of people who simply request ‘cothrom na féinne’ / a fair playing field regarding the study of languages, in this case the Irish language and for the Department along with all connected bodies to facilitate and encourage Irish Medium Education, it appears even to facilitate a reply is a step too far.

The minister cannot neglect this sector of education as she appears to have this communication. She must be held to account and reminded of her dutiful obligation to facilitate the education of all citizens, as enshrined not only in the Good Friday Agreement, but in the United Nations Convention of Human Rights. 

Aontú demand the minister address these concerns, as a matter of urgency and engage with those involved personally following this very disappointing failure to respond on two occasions already. The minister must represent and work to improve the education system, each and every sector for all the children within the North. Education in the Irish language is no exception.


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