Ruane commissions four new Irish language schools…

The reason Caitriona Ruane has been struggling to fulfil her party brief to end selection in schools is that she lacks the power to do so.  However she does have carte blanche in allocating budgets, which is one reason why she has decided (albeit conditionally) to fund four new Irish language schools in Magherafelt, Kilkeel, Limavady and Ballymena.

Yet as the Belfast Telegraph noted yesterday, there is a 27% vacancy rate in that sector already. In fact there are some 50,000 vacant places the primary sector overall, with the Integrated sector being one of the few that has substantial turn away figure of 650 pupils.

Now the approval is conditional on getting the admission rates, so the Minister has made it clear that the schools will not be funded if they haven’t got the admissions to justify it. But 50 k unfilled places suggests that if Ms Ruane wants to continue open some schools, she is going to have to close others.

And if that were to be the case, the resources she would then free up ought to move to where there is demonstrable demand.  But, if those who have played Alan’s Fantasy d’Hondt are right, then the Department should stay with her after the next election, so there is little possibility of a rival slicing back the Irish medium sector after the next Assembly election.

This looks like an attempt to get a few last goodies through the door before the CSR in October closes the door on substantial future investment by putting 15%-16% squeeze on overall budgets. Her political gamble here is that in continuing to roll the sector out, she forsakez the consolidation of what capacity that’s already there.

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  • socaire!

    You have had long enough to come up with a coherent answer. Im going to bed.

    If your problem is you doubt the accuracy of the above, by all means click on the link below. Go on educate yourself.

  • Rory Carr

    Never mind about whether or not we Irish are descended from Celts, it’s the ones that think they’re descended from cats that we have to worry about.

  • Gaelic (Im being precise) is not the ancestral language of Ireland. So lets not teach it in schools.

    English is not the ancestral language of Ireland either, why dont we stop teaching that as well.

    Ok so we are as a breed as mixed up genetically as anyone else. So what. All three languages/dialects are part of us. English is the language of choice for most of the world, there is good reason for keeping it our dominant language, whilst teaching the others as well.

    Rory Carr

    Cats make more sense than some people but then so do dogs.

  • Rory Carr

    Here you go, Pips, the ideal book for you and it will only cost you a penny (plus £2.75 postage):

  • Rory Carr

    How thoughtful!! but the cats almost certainly dont like golf and I definitely dont….Still nice try.

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: Here you go, Pips, the ideal book for you
    And you found an Alan Coren book while innocently searching for porn? I think not…
    Pippakin: but the cats almost certainly dont like golf and I definitely dont
    In the foreword the author claims to have found nothing at all about cats, golf, or the Third Reich in his book. Though I suspect there is a mention or two of cats he failed to notice.

  • vanhelsing

    remember what Churchill said about cats and dogs,

    ‘Cats look down on us, dogs look up at us but pigs treat us as equals’

  • Reader

    I hope you don’t seriously believe I looked beyond the Amazon front page???

    The aim, if I have gained any experience of Rory and his comments, was to amuse and belittle. For his sake I hope you were amused. I smiled…

  • Reader

    To be fair to Rory Carr, I think he was getting his own back for a comment I made earlier.

  • southdown

    As a parent of a child at an irish lang school, I think the initial comments on this thread were pretty off the wall and insane. One of the main things that attracted us to this form of education was the lack of God or religion. I liked the bilinqual aspect too, recent evidence from wales and canada seems to indicate that bilinqual school education helps you to learn other lanquages later on- I could digress further but you know posting on slugger to some of the people who have already made up their minds on the various subjects is a waste of time -to me anyway. There’s no need at primary to start learning mandarin or arabic in great detail but i certainly think that as the children are thinking in different lanquages they would be more receptive. It certainly did dara o briain no harm did it?
    It could be that gaelscoil when applied correctly and with good home support could produce some fine academic minds. Shame on those who have made up their minds with out doing a bit more research. So far I have been really pleased with our school choice.

    Good night- Oiche Maith 🙂

  • Shane

    Wow….. I agree Southdown. From some of the comments -ssuggesting Gaelscoils stand in the way of integration somehow – it sounds as if Gaelscoilleanna in NI were Catholic only clubs with big signs outside with “Down with the Union” and “No Prods Allowed” written on them….. this is the kind of asumption the writers of the anti-Irish school comments seem to have.

    I would like to know how many of the Gaelscoils in NI are Caholic, Protestant, integrated non-denominational etc.

    In the south a lot of people like them too because they are non-denominational or because churches have much less influence on them. As an enthusiast for the language it makes me sad and irritated to see other people, who dont know the language, pidgin-hole Irish with Religion A or Political View B in such blunt terms.

    And insisting that Irish language is only for Group A or B might be somewhat self-fulfilling prophecy, cos it puts off anyone else from going to them. I’d much prefer to see people of all backgrunds go to the Gaelscoils – and for them to play a part in integration – and depoliticise and “derelgionise” the language completely.

    Suggesting that Gaelscoils are automatically sectarian and anti-integration — seems to promote a sectarian view.