Irish-speaking children don’t get a fair deal

HURRAH for Education Minister Mary Coughlan who is ploughing ahead with 40% of the marks for Irish in the Leaving Cert being awarded for the oral examination.

I have no doubt teachers and students alike will rise to the challenge and that, as a result, Irish will become a popular subject. Could the minister not spare a thought, however, for the fluent speaker who will sit bored through Irish class? Is Irish doomed to become the only official EU language where its native speakers are not meaningfully exposed to its literature and challenged at second level?

It was proposed to offer an optional subject of Irish Literature/Translation Studies to challenge and round off the second-level education of fluent and native speakers, but this was rejected as giving a minority an extra subject.

We all rejoice in families who practise music at home and never grumble if their children take music as an extra Leaving Cert subject.

Neither do we grumble when students with Russian or French at home pick up extra honours in these subjects.

Is the anti-Irish bias really so strong in the Department of Education as to deny this educational need of Irish-speaking children?

Daithí Mac Cárthaigh

Gaeltacht Rath Chairn

Baile Átha Buí

Co na Mí

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