New criteria to remove obstacle to Irish-medium schools
One of the biggest impediments to the establishment of Irish-medium schools is set to be removed following an investigation into the school patronage process by the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga (Irish language Ombudsman). The investigation, carried out last year, prompted the Department of Education to recommend changes to how the school patronage process operates. If implemented, the changes will see greater emphasis placed on meeting the demand for Irish-medium schools and could lead to the establishment of more Gaelscoileanna across the country. Under the revised system, parents hoping to school their children through Irish would not have to be in a numerical majority in areas where new schools are planned. Instead, if a proportion of parents seeking a new school state a preference for their children to be schooled through Irish, then two schools – one English-medium and one Irish-medium school – will be built to accommodate that need.