Fine Gael Candidate for Cork North West has made an assurance that Irish will not be removed as compulsory language for the leaving certificate for a generation or two.  Commenting on recent misrepresentations of Fine Gael policy on the matter, Deputy Creed said;

“The most frustrating issue I have encountered during the course of this election campaign is the misrepresentation of Fine Gael policy on the Irish language.  Representing a Constituency with a large Gaeltacht area, this matter is hugely important and must be clarified”.

“Fine Gael is strongly committed to the development of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht regions. We recognise the value and cultural importance of our Irish tradition and heritage and we are determined to ensure the language and the Gaeltacht regions survive and prosper”.

“We are committed to overhauling the way in which Irish is taught at primary and second levels of education, to ensure teachers are equipped with the right tools to instill a love of the language for all students, and that the curriculum is designed to inspire students to continue speaking the language after leaving school”.

“We believe that reinventing the way we teach Irish will encourage more students to study the language and engage with it beyond the school system. We believe compulsion has not fostered growth or commitment to the language. We will overhaul the curriculum at second level and we will critically examine the effect of current training methods of teachers to teach. Irish as an optional subject for Leaving Certificate will only apply following consultations on both matters”.

“We will allocate 50% of marks to oral Irish exams.  A study on a double curriculum to Leaving Cert will be investigated, one on the current system and a second in communicating Irish. The questions of extra points for third level entry will be investigated.  Fine Gael will double the proportion of Irish students sitting the Higher Level Leaving Certificate exam by 2018”.

“We will investigate the development of a national proficiency scale for the Irish language. This ten point scale would allow every citizen to have their competence assessed and use modern teaching methods and modern technology to gradually improve their proficiency at a pace that suits themselves”.

“We have a Constitutional obligation to preserve and promote the language.  There has been a politically motivated cynical attempt to misrepresent our position.  There are groups and individuals who are masquerading as protectors of the language who simply wish to undermine Fine Gael at every turn.  Instead of campaigning against the failed Government policies towards the language of the last eighty years, they instead wish to challenge those who seek to put forward a progressive policy to ensure the language has a future.  The very least they could do is read our policy and show some honesty”.

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