No equal rights for those of us in the Republic of Ireland who want to opt out of compulsory Irish language learning

In response to the recent articles and letters regarding the Irish language (November 2, 9, 14, 18 and 19 — click here and scroll down to see the letters and opinion pieces).

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 6:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 7:38 pm
Republic education minister Joe McHugh, above at an Orange Hall in Newtoncunningham last year, has overseen the first revision of compulsory Irish in the Republic in 20 years

As a parent in the Republic of Ireland whose children are currently being forced to learn Irish in secondary school, it is very concerning that Irish is thought through the prism of Irish mythology, anti Britishness and Gaelic culture such as the idiom of the GAA.

Compulsory Irish was introduced in 1934 at a time when the Republic’s Eamon De Valera and his Fianna Fail politicians wished for the Irish language to replace English within a generation.

This has proved to be a lengthy and an expensive failure.

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Letter to the editor

In the first compulsory Irish revision in 20 years, Donegal based Minister for Education Joe McHugh has ensured that under new rules in place for the 2019/20 school year that students only in rare and exceptional circumstances will be granted an exemption from Irish.

Schools have to apply a strict criteria when considering an application for an exemption.

We are not Gaels and our children are uncomfortable with the ideology with which it is thought.

The Irish language is not part of our culture.

Where are our equal rights to opt out and not learn the language ?

Unfortunately there is no common sense approach in the Republic as the Irish language remains a sacred cow of the Irish education policy.

Leave the Irish language to the romantics and dreamers.

(Link to the official circular on how Irish exemptions are to be granted only in exceptional circumstances: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0053_2019.pdf )

Ian Beamish, Monaleen, Limerick, Republic of Ireland