Thursday, 14 July 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla (Atógáil) - Topical Issue Debate (Resumed)
Oideachas trí Ghaeilge
I am sharing time with my colleague, Deputy Cronin, and we send our best wishes to Deputy Durkan. Deputy Catherine Murphy supports the motion as well. We in Kildare tend to work together on these issues, which is a good and collaborative way to finish out the term. It is very much a team effort.
The points have already been outlined. Gaelscoil Chill Dara, which took a long time to get established, campaigned for many years to have this second level Gaelscoil established in Kildare. The current mayor of Kildare, Councillor Naoise Ó Cearúil, is involved and his father, Colm Ó Cearúil, led the campaign for over 20 if not 30 years to get it to this point. It is only in the last couple of years they have established the school. Though they have a new school, they are playing second fiddle and are receiving the hand-me-downs of the other schools. Maynooth Post Primary School moved up the road from the old school site to the new site on Moyglare Road. It is a brand spanking new school which took significant effort to get going and thankfully is up and running. The old building has been nominated potentially for the Gaelcholáiste but that is not even in place yet because many of the students are in the Manor Mills Shopping Centre, and going to and fro from the shopping centre down the stairs, across the road and into the old school building. They are the little sister or brother getting the hand-me-downs, rather than getting a building fit for purpose.
The difficulty is not only for the current students. There is a significant demand for education through the medium of Irish at second level in Kildare. That momentum and head of steam they built up and the excitement of finally getting their Gaelcholáiste approved in the area is being derailed and threatened because the lack of capacity and uncertainty means those children and families are in some cases understandably sending their children elsewhere, including outside of the county, or back into an English-language medium.
This is for the benefit of all, including the medium of Irish, families in the school and prospective families. I think progress is being made. I have been talking to the Minister, Deputy Foley. Perhaps the Minister of State can give us the latest position on that.