Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Irish Language

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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248. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if an exemption from Irish in second level education can be made available in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3146/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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The Dept. of Education & Skills issued two Circulars in August 2019 regarding exemptions from the study of Irish for both Primary and Post Primary schools.  Circulars 052/2019 and 053/2019 refer.

Section 2.2 of both Circulars advise on the circumstances in which a pupil may be granted an exemption from the study of Irish.The decision to grant an exemption from the study of Irish is made by the principal teacher, but it must be made following discussion with the pupil’s parent(s)/guardian(s), the class teacher, special education teachers, and the pupil.

Where the application for exemption from the study of Irish is refused, a parent/guardian can appeal the school’s decision to the Irish Exemptions Appeal Committee (IEAC) if they are dissatisfied with the schools decision. 

The IEAC is bound by the terms of Section 2.4 of Circulars 052/2019 and 053/2019 which directs that the deliberations of the IEAC focus solely on the processes the school followed in in reaching its decision and consider whether the school followed the process as prescribed by the Circulars. The IEAC do not have the remit to consider any other criteria in making their decision. 

I wish to advise the Deputy that the parents of the student concerned applied to the school for an exemption for their child on 4 December 2019 and the school refused the application on 12 December last.  The parents lodged an appeal against the decision on 20 December and the appeal was considered on 21 January 2020.  The IEAC determined that the school did not fully follow the procedure, as they did not advise the parents of the next step in processing the application after the initial discussion with the parents but did follow the process in every other aspect.  A correspondence issued to the school requesting that they review the process that they took for this application.  As set out in Circular 052/2019 and the Primary guidelines, the school are obliged to review their processing of the application and the outcome may or may not change as a result.


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