Gaelscoileanna report acute difficulties finding qualified Irish teachers

Some schools forced to advertise vacant positions on multiple occasions

Many gaelscoileanna are reporting acute difficulties finding qualified Irish teachers to fill vacant teaching positions.

Some schools say they have had no applications for posts which have been advertised on several occasions since the start of the summer.

An analysis of schools which are advertising for permanent positions shows gaelscoileanna are significantly over-represented.

In the case of Scoil Mobhí in Drumcondra, Dublin, for example, the school has advertised a vacant teaching post on four occasions since July without a single applicant.


Gaelscoil de hIde in Fermoy, Co Cork, has also been advertising a post since the beginning of September, while Gaelscoil Mhainistir Na Corann in Midletcon, Co Cork, is also seeking to fill three posts at the school.

These schools also report acute problems sourcing qualified teachers to provide substitute cover.

A spokesman for the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) said it was “alarming” to see gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht schools struggling to secure qualified teachers for permanent roles.

“Qualified teachers are moving abroad in droves to secure better pay and conditions and we are starting to see the impact this is having in primary schools.”

The general secretary of An Foras Pátrúnachta, the largest patron of Irish-medium schools, said gaelscoileanna were growing in popularity and required more qualified teachers.

“We’re hearing there is a real lack of applications in some areas and schools are having to re-advertise positions,” said Caoimhín Ó hEaghra.

“The new degree for teaching through Irish in primary schools is a recognition of the fact that we need more fully qualified Irish teachers in the system.”

New degree

This is a reference to a new bachelor in education degree through the medium of Irish for primary teaching in Marino Institute of Education.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton launched the new course, which is accredited by Trinity College Dublin and due to commence in September 2019.

It will register up to 35 students a year.

“This represents an important advancement in the work which I am undertaking in increasing the number of teachers who can teach through the medium of Irish in the Gaeltacht and in the Irish-medium sector in general,” he said.

While he said the State was hiring more teachers now than ever before – with 6,000 over the past two years – he recognised that “challenges exist”.

Separately, An Foras Pátrúnachta has announced that it intended to apply for the patronage of 13 new primary schools due to open next year.

The new schools were confirmed by the Department of Education earlier this year and will be based in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Meath and Cork.

The process for awarding patronage of these schools will be announced by the department in the coming weeks and is based around parental demand and provision of choice.

Mr Ó hEaghra said: “Demand for places in Gaelscoileanna continues to grow at a rapid rate with many of our schools oversubscribed. We hear regularly from parents who wish they could send their child to an Irish-medium school but don’t have that option available to them, and that demand is backed by national research.”

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent