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    Member’s Query: Exemption from Irish

    By Noreen Bowden | May 8, 2008

    We’ve had a query from one of our member groups regarding the exemption from the Irish language.  This is an issue that may affect those who are returning to Ireland with school-aged children.

    The Department of Education has a document outlining who may be exempted and the procedure for granting an exemption.  The part that is applicable to returning emigrant children is as follows:

    Pupils in the following circumstances may be allowed to substitute any other subject from the list of approved subjects for Irish for the purpose of Rule 21 (1) (a) and (b):-

    (a) Pupils whose primary education up to 11 years of age was received in Northern Ireland or outside Ireland;

    (b) Pupils who were previously enrolled as recognised pupils in a primary or second-level school who are being re-enrolled after a period spent abroad, provided that at least three years have elapsed since the previous enrolment in the State and the pupil is at least 11 years of age on re-enrolment;

    The document gives the procedure for getting an exemption as well, which begins with a parent or guardian submitting a written application to the principal.

    The document does note, however, that “[t]he second-level programme in Irish both current and planned has the capacity to cater for a wide diversity of ability”, so it seems to encourage parents to consider whether studying Irish may be suitable for their children.

    See the Department of Education’s document on exemption from Irish.

    On a related note, NY-born comedian Des Bishop, recently impressed TV viewers with his attempts to learn Irish for his RTE TV programme, “In the Name of the Fada”. Des came over to Ireland from NY as a teenager and has been making a name for himself as a keen observer of Irish life. He is now touring Ireland with a comedy show in Irish called “Teanga”.

    See more about “In the Name of the Fada” and watch the show on the RTE website.

    Topics: children, Latest News, members, return migration | No Comments »