Gaeloideachas wishes to congratulate Joe Mc Hugh, T.D. on his appointment as Minister for Education and Skills at the weekend, succeeding Richard Bruton, T.D.
“Minister Mc Hugh is an energetic and exemplary leader when it comes to the Irish language, he’s shown great respect for Irish, for Irish-medium education and for the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht communities since his appointment as Minister for Stare with responsibility for Irish, Gaeltacht affairs and the Islands” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, Gaeloideachas CEO. “I hope the dedication and vision he has for the language will benefit the aims he sets out for the development of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht education.”
The new Minister for Education and Skills faces a challenging brief, and a crisis in the supply of teachers. These challenges are even more severe in the Irish-medium education sector, where schools at both levels, both in Gaeltacht areas and outside of the Gaeltacht, cannot recruit teachers or substitute teachers with the basic level of fluency in Irish necessary to teach in an immersion education context. At post-primary level, Gaeloideachas is supporting Irish-medium Units within English-medium schools in the serious challenges they face because of this model, as well as supporting communities who are seeing to establish new Units but are struggling because of a lack of information, direction and support from the State. Gaeloideachas looks forward to working with the Minister to discuss the needs of the sector on behalf of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools.
Minister Mc Hugh is to be invited to address the schools directly at the largest conference for Irish-medium and Gaeltacht education, Tionól Forbartha Gaeloideachas i bpáirt le COGG, which will be held in Galway on November 16th. Gaeloideachas will host its Annual General Meeting in the same venue a day ahead of the conference, where the organisation’s members are set to put forward motions calling on the Department of Education and Skills to better support children with special educational needs, to address the crisis in teacher supply and to support the implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education.
“I’m sure the understanding Joe Mc Hugh has of Gaeltacht and Irish-speaking communities will help him to steer the Department of Education and Skills through the coming crucial years, and that he will support policies that will promote Irish-medium education – including the Policy on Gaeltacht Education – and I wish him every success”, said Gaeloideachas President, Anna Ní Chartúir.