Why do teachers need Irish in the Republic?

We’ve a couple of Irish language stories on the go today. First we have a this note received from a fully immigrant teacher from the UK, who is struggling to understand why he has to pass a language qualification that he won’t otherwise need in the teaching of this subject. As he points out, if he doesn’t gain the SCG within five years, he will no longer be considered qualified as a teacher.

The SCG is the Scrúdú le haghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge, an Irish language qualification that foreign entrants to the teaching profession in Ireland must attain before becoming permanently employed in their jobs. We are not allowed to do Leaving Cert Irish and can only do the SCG.

As part of the qualification, for which we are given a 5 year time limit to gain it (or be viewed as unqualified by the dept of education here!), we are also to attend 3 weeks of Gaelic summer school, again funded from our own pockets. The refund from the department for this won’t even cover for 1 week tuition.

To be honest, I have just refused to do the thing as I feel it is so unjust and discriminatory – a pro-Irish policy if ever there was one – but the union and the department don’t see it that way. I have also written to the Irish Times about why multi-denominational education has to be the way forward in Ireland. I received the usual anti-British hate mail threatening me.

When one thinks of the four corners of the world where the Irish are to be found, why is it like this in their own country? Why are they so against foreigners?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty