Five new primary schools due to open in the greater Dublin area from next year will be run as Gaelscoileanna, Minister for Education Joe McHugh has announced.
Education through Irish was chosen for the schools following an analysis of availability of Gaelscoileanna in Dublin and its surrounding commuter belt.
Under new regulations, new schools must be run as Gaelscoileanna in areas where there is no existing Irish-medium primary school or where there is more than one new primary school to be established over the next three years.
Two of the schools will open next year – one in Donabate and the other in Saggart/Citywest. The others opening in 2021 will serve Donaghmede/Howth area and the Dublin 2 and Dublin 4 areas.
It will be a huge boost for a large number of parents in these areas who will now have more certainty about the availability of Irish-medium education for their children
The fifth school will open in Cherrywood in either 2020 or 2022. Two schools, a Gaelscoil and an English-medium school, are due to open in Cherrywood and the order in which they will open will be determined by parents using the Department of Education's new online patronage process system (patronage.education.gov.ie).
“This is a significant step in terms of increasing Irish-medium education and all the benefits it brings,” Mr McHugh said.
“It will be a huge boost for a large number of parents in these areas who will now have more certainty about the availability of Irish-medium education for their children.”
The online patronage system was operated as a pilot project last year, and two changes have now been made which favour the Irish language. Firstly, if there is no existing Irish-medium provision in a school planning area, and a new primary school is being established to meet demographic demand, the new school will be designated as a Gaelscoil before the online patronage process system for that area opens.
Secondly, if a number of new primary schools are due to be established in the same school planning area during the period 2019-2022, at least one of these schools in that school planning area will be Irish-medium. These two provisions will operate “unless there are particular local circumstances where this would not be appropriate,” the department said.