Although the teaching of Irish remains compulsory in the Republic, the numbers of students gaining exemptions from taking Junior and Leaving Cert exams is on the increase. According to the Irish Times (subs only) “only 1,719 students secured an exemption in 1994 compared to 6,588 last year”. Just as worryingly for the health of the language, the numbers taking Irish the highest grade at Leaving Cert last year dropped to only 14,000 students. It compares to 15,000 who took French.
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