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'Huge' number of responses on how to exempt students from studying Irish

Over 2,100 responses were submitted in the weeks before Christmas, so the government has extended the deadline for submissions.

Image: Shutterstock/panitanphoto

A RECORD NUMBER of submissions from the public have been made to the government in relation to the consultation on how to exempt students from studying Irish in schools.

Over 2,100 responses had been submitted to the online survey, which was launched on 7 December, by the week before Christmas and further responses have continued to be received.

This is one of the largest ever responses to a consultation of this kind by the Department of Education and Skills. As a result the deadline for submissions is being extended by a week until Friday 18 January. 

“I am delighted to see this huge level of interest in the consultation on the granting of exemptions from the study of Irish,” Minister for Education Joe McHugh said.

It’s an indication of how important an issue the teaching of Irish is for many, many people, and how strongly people of all ages feel about the teaching of our national language.

The consultation is seeking views on the way students can apply to be exempted from the study of Irish in schools. As part of the consultation, Minister McHugh published new draft arrangements and the consultation is seeking views from the public on these proposals. 

 The survey asks respondents to indicate whether they ‘Strongly agree’, ‘Agree’, ‘Disagree’, or ‘Strongly disagree’ with several key aspects of the proposals and it includes an option to provide additional written comments.

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“I think the level of participation in the survey shows the success of adopting a simple and straightforward approach when asking the public about their views,” said Minister McHugh.

I am delighted that over half of respondents (56%) who had submitted responses before Christmas had also opted to provide additional comments.  

The proposals and survey are available here. Queries on the consultation or additional submissions can be sent to: consultation_exempti@education.gov.ie.

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