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Irish-medium education review calls for cooperation between Gaelic schools


13/10/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

Gaelic-speaking schools in Ireland and Scotland should enjoy closer ties, a report has said.

All-island cooperation in education would also help achieve greater economies of scale and help cut the cost of staff, according to a dossier prepared for the education minister.

Education minister Caitriona Ruane has begun her consultation on the review of Irish-medium teaching.

Her paper said: "The issues faced in Scotland and Wales are often similar to those faced here and much could be gained through pooling of information and resources.

"In particular, the linguistic similarities between Scottish and Irish Gaelic could provide fertile ground for mutual benefits, for example in sharing pedagogy and learning resources."

The review was carried out by an independent board amid the legacy of sub-standard accommodation and issues surrounding availability of resources.

The document added: "The beneficial outcomes of all-Ireland cooperation can flow in both directions and they are likely to be limited only by the ingenuity of the sectors in the various areas.

"In many instances the small size of the Irish-medium sector mean that economies of scale cannot be harnessed.

"Taking account of all the demands for Irish-medium resources, including human resources, across the island of Ireland would go a long way to addressing this difficulty."

Sinn Fein minister Ms Ruane has been a keen proponent of Irish. DUP opposition to an Irish language act has been a factor in the impasse preventing the ministerial executive from meeting.

Janet Muller, chief executive of Pobal, the body set up to promote the Irish language, said: "Equality, poverty, racism, homophobia, equal pay and rights for women all remain key social issues here.

"Yet the ducking and diving around the Irish language act leaves a particularly bitter taste and shows up very clearly that civil rights have still not been achieved for all.

"The manoeuvring that led to the re-establishment of the Assembly has exposed yet again that it is one thing to get a promise from politicians and from governments, but quite another to see that promise fulfilled."



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