Hard choices for true believers - Rules on Irish exemption eased

Hard choices for true believers - Rules on Irish exemption eased

This weekend’s 40th anniversary of the death, in a storm in Bantry Bay, of double Booker prize winner JG Farrell, offers an opportunity to speculate how that great chronicler of empire and the collapse of empire might regard Brexit. 

However he might have viewed it, and it is hard to imagine he would admire Boris Johnson, he would have been alert to the nostalgia politics at the heart of that unfortunate enterprise.

He might have recognised, too, that Brexit, or at least the hard one Johnson’s true believers seem determined to impose, might make a border poll a mid-term possibility rather than a long-term probability. 

He might also have connected the news that students with disabilities will no longer need a doctor’s diagnosis to be exempt from studying Irish to the prospect of a border poll. 

Under new guidelines those seeking an exemption from studying Irish will no longer need to undergo a psychological assessment. 

However, exemptions will be granted only in “rare and exceptional circumstances”, according to the Department of Education.

In an irony that would not be lost on Farrell, any vote to end partition would, in a rational world, signal the end of mandatory Irish in our schools. 

Imposing such an obligation in a reunited, 32-county Ireland would seem the kind of cultural triumphalism that would make building a new, all-inclusive Ireland more difficult that it might be. Johnson’s true believers are not the only ones facing hard choices.

More on this topic

McHugh tells schools to offer special placesMcHugh tells schools to offer special places

'Available Places' scheme for students who didn't accept CAO offer today opened'Available Places' scheme for students who didn't accept CAO offer today opened

Five schools to delay start of new term as mediation works are yet to be completedFive schools to delay start of new term as mediation works are yet to be completed

Students warned over potential college accommodation scamsStudents warned over potential college accommodation scams

More in this Section

Alcohol really is no excuse for bad behaviour – research reveals you're still the same person after a drinkAlcohol really is no excuse for bad behaviour – research reveals you're still the same person after a drink

Readers' View: The 'Lungs of the Planet' has the potential to chokeReaders' View: The 'Lungs of the Planet' has the potential to choke

Migrants are always at risk of crossing a lineMigrants are always at risk of crossing a line

Garda restructuring plans: Intent displayed augurs well for the futureGarda restructuring plans: Intent displayed augurs well for the future


Lifestyle

IF you are the parent of a child who is about to venture forth into the hallowed halls of Primary education, or ‘Big School’ as every Irish mammy refers to it since the dawn of time; well, chances are you’ve probably been very active in your Google searches looking for tips and advice on how to ease your child, and yourself, into this next chapter.Out of curiosity, I searched online for ‘Back to school advice’

More From The Irish Examiner