St Brigid’s sanguine in spite of Irish refusal

Education Minister Peter Weir.

Education Minister Peter Weir.

St Brigid’s College says it’s determined to build on its Irish language provision at Carnhill despite the disappointment of having a proposal for an Irish Medium Unit turned down by the Education Minister, Peter Weir, on Wednesday.

Mr Weir said he was refusing the proposal as he feared it could threaten the long-term sustainability of Gaelcholaiste Dhoire in Dungiven.

In a statement, St Brigid’s said: “The school has been informed that its Development Proposal for an Irish-medium education stream has been turned down by the Minister for Education. The school is determined, however, to continue with its provision for Irish-medium education; we are planning to welcome another cohort of Year 8 pupils to our Irish-medium education stream in September 2017.”

The Education Minister said he recognised there was potential for growth in the Irish language sector but warned co-ordinated planning needed to be brought to bear.

He said: “Effective Area Planning of Irish medium provision requires Development Proposals to be brought forward in a co-ordinated and strategic manner that take full account of all relevant considerations. Unfortunately this has not happened in this instance, with the resultant fragmented approach to the planning of Irish medium provision in the area.”

The Minister concluded: “While I recognise there is potential for growth in the sector, a robust case must be presented, producing a sustainable and viable solution for the provision of post-primary Irish medium education to children in Londonderry and the surrounding area.

“This area solution should be consistent with strategic priorities for action set out in the draft EA Area Plan for 2017-2020 “Providing Pathways” which is open for public consultation until December 12, 2016.”