Fine Gael’s proposals to remove Irish as a compulsory subject in the Leaving Certificate is a move that will kill off the language once and for all.
This is the view of Independent Galway West candidate Eamon Walsh, who said he was “appalled” by the proposal.
“There are undoubtedly difficulties with the way Irish is being taught in our mainstream schools,” he said, “but it does not justify this ill thought out knee jerk policy move. Irish must be compulsory in the Leaving Cert. If you give the option to 15-year-olds they will not take Irish and if this happens then the language is dead.”
He further pointed out that if Irish was abandoned as a compulsory Leaving Cert subject, it would be the “death knell for the Irish summer schools” and a “serious blow to the survival” of our remaining Irish speaking areas.
Mr Walsh said a “more constructive” way of approaching the issue would be the establishment of a specialised curriculum review group drawing on the experiences of the Gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht communities to reframe the way Irish is taught.