Should children of returning emigrants be exempt from Irish?
Some parents want their kids to learn Irish, while others are relieved by the exemption
Veronica Fegan-Smith, her husband Tom and their children Griffin, Fiona, Erin and Kieran moved from New York to rural Clare last year. Photograph: Eamon Ward
Is the system for exempting schoolchildren from studying Irish fair? It’s a question that goes to the heart of a forthcoming Department of Education review on the system of opt-outs that applies to learning Irish in the classroom.
Irish, controversially, remains mandatory at both primary and second level for most pupils. Students who have been abroad for a period of time or who have certain learning disabilities may be exempted under rules produced by the department and implemented by schools.