The number of students given exemptions from studying Irish, has increased by 50% in 10 years.
A new ESRI report, as seen by the Irish Times, shows that 32,000 students were granted exemptions from Irish during 2014, up from 20,000 in 2004.
19,000 students were exempted because of a disability in 2014, mostly for emotional or behavioural difficulties.
The research shows that boys are more likely to have an exemption, than girls.
Irish is compulsory at primary and secondary level, though the Department of Education allows students to be excused on the grounds of disability and having studied elsewhere up to the age of 11.