March 18, 2021
An historic step for Irish-medium immersion education at secondary level
A decision has been taken to establish for the first time a new model of Irish-medium education at second level under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta.
The Minister for Education and Skills Norma Foley TD today announced a new model of all-Irish secondary education. An all-Irish satellite is to open in Dundalk in September under the auspices of its parent school Coláiste Ghlór na Mara and its patron An Foras Pátrúnachta (AFP). The satellite will be operated on a pilot basis with the expectation that the model will be scalable to other areas in the future.
The satellite will be a campus of Coláiste Ghlór na Mara but will be based in Dundalk. While it will be located in Dundalk, it will draw on the staff, management and patron of Coláiste Ghlór na Mara which is based in Balbriggan.
Secretary General of An Foras Pátrúnachta Caoimhín Ó hEaghra spoke of the decision: “An Foras Pátrúnachta is delighted with the Minister’s announcement today. There is a huge demand and interest in all-Irish education in the community and it is great that full immersion education will be available for students in Dundalk. I would like to thank the Minister and officials of the Department for their work on this issue. ”
“The issue of the Irish language and all-Irish education are intertwined. An Foras Pátrúnachta aims to provide high quality all-Irish education to support the creation of all-Irish communities. Immersion education needs to be in place to ensure the best education is given but this is not the only factor. Achieving this vision of creating Irish speaking communities requires an all-Irish staff, an all-Irish Board of Management and an all-Irish School Patron.”
Maedhbh Daltún, Principal of Coláiste Ghlór na Mara, said, “This pioneering initiative is the result of the hard work of the people of Dundalk, AFP, Coláiste Ghlór na Mara and the Department of Education and Skills. The new model is a testament to the interest and demand for Irish-medium education at second level. ”
Ó hEaghra thanked all the people and organisations who helped to bring this initiative to fruition: the parents and the community in Dundalk, Coláiste Ghlór na Mara, Conradh na Gaeilge, Gaeloideachas and everyone else who helped.
Through this new model, students will benefit from the extra advantages of immersion education in addition to the larger staffing, subject choice offering and other resources of an independent Gaelcholáiste. This is a pilot scheme which facilitates immersion education at second level in an area that does not currently have a Gaelcholáiste.
An Foras Pátrúnachta and Coláiste Ghlór na Mara will soon be engaging with the Dundalk community to map out the next steps.