A Celebration of Irish-Medium Education 2008 - www by sdsdfqw21

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									www.thetrustforirishmediumeducation.com
                  Force
    A Gael east and west
    sweeping both




    Brian Wilson, politician, businessman and entrepreneur.
    A supporter of Gaelic -Medium Education in Scotland
    and Ireland.

    Brian Wilson’s CV is impressive.
    He has spent spells in 10 Downing Street first as Minister for Energy and then as Tony Blair's Special Representative on Trade. He has also been
    chairperson of mega-companies such as Airtricity, and for over 20 years, an authoritative commentator on current affairs in both the print and
    the electronic media.
    Well known and well respected in the hard headed world of business the Scotsman is industrious, clever and very clear sighted.
    Brian is an admirer of the work done by Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta and others to promote Irish Medium Education. “Whatever prospects
    there are for the Gaelic language are tied up with the existence and expansion of Gaelic Medium education” says Brian.
    “The more schools that are teaching through the medium of Gaelic the better.
    I am very conscious of the strides being made in Ireland in terms of Irish Medium schools and the work done by groups like Iontaobhas. What
    is particularly impressive is the degree of parental demand. In Ireland Gaelic Medium schooling seems to be demand led.
    Parents for a range of reasons in a range of places want it and are not prepared to settle for anything less. They are even prepared to go out
    and set up schools and force the issue. That is impressive.”
    Brians children have been educated in Gaelic Medium schools in Scotland, his wife is a native speaker and during his tenure as Scottish Education
    Minister he promoted the merits of Gaelic Medium Education with vigour to the Scottish people.
    Last month Brian Wilson was in Islay, the Scottish island just 20 miles from the coast of Antrim, supporting an initiative involving locals and Gaelic
    speakers from Ballycastle.
    The initiative will promote Gaelic Medium education in both areas.
    “In many ways Islay epitomises the difficulties that exist for the language in Scotland. There is a lot of goodwill and it is a fantastic achievement
    that Gaelic is still a living language in Islay. Yet everything is being made difficult for the small number of people who are having to fight for
    whatever provision there is. And if the Gaelic speakers from Ballycastle are able to use their experience and their knowledge to help the Gaels
    of Islay that would be a very good piece of co-operation.”
    While he is passionate and unyielding in his support for Gaelic Brian Wilson is very keenly aware that the language is more than a linguistic
    symbol. He knows that the language can also be an economic tool, which helps to build and to sustain communities. His work and his political
    life have constantly linked language, community and economics.
    He has been the initiator of educational and community projects such as the third level Gaelic college, Sabhal Mór Ostaig, on the Isle of Skye.
    The success of Sabhal Mór Ostaig has helped regenerate the part of Skye on which it is based. He also sees the economic benefit of the Gaelic
    Arts and other initiatives and will continue to push hard for Gaelic to be a key component of national life in Scotland be it in education, economy
    or in the social sphere.
    “I’ve always viewed the language as something which enhanced identity, as something absolutely integral to the culture of the places where I’ve
    spent a large part of my life.
    It’s not something I’ve ever given a lot of thought to. It’s always been part of my life and interest and I’m very much in favour of strengthening it.”




                                   A shared past and a shared future
                                   Two recently produced posters for two schools one in Ballycastle and the hebredian island of Islay provide a
                                   strong symbol for the role Gaelic is playing in exploring a shared future and are the latest examples of
                                   extraordinary links that are sprouting between north Antrim and Scotland.
                                   Principal Brídín Ní Dhonnghaile says “We know that the work between Ballycastle and Islay will create an
                                   interesting space for people here to see our language not matter what name you call it Irish, Gaelic or Gaeilge,
                                   as part of a tradition we can all celebrate together. In todays time of hope our language, our common language,
                                   provides people here from both of Scottish and Irish decent another place to meet. Our shared Gaelic language
                                   and culture should be celebrated and embraced, it enhance us all. There is much to be gained from this link and
                                   we look forward to the opportunities that await us”
1
           Ag maoiniú na hearnála lánGhaeilge
       Providing funding for Irish language Education


Every business has it goals, our goal is to support individuals,
families, communities and institutions develop themselves while acquiring and celebrating the Irish language.

Ó chogar go guth - From a whisper to a Voice
Your involvement over the last 7 years has mean’t that;
       • Over £4.5million of support has been provided.
       • Over 5000 children have benefited.
       • Over 600 adults have been supported in career development courses.
       • 15 new preschool buildings have been constructed
       • 10 primary schools benefited from capital grants
       • Over 40 communities have received grants.
       • Bursaries have been provide for university courses.

Ó NEART GO NEART
Our most recent campaign Ó neart go neart,
was launched in October with the aim of raising
2.5million in 2 years…. 6 months down the road we have raised          million
                                                                       £1.4
TACA
Our monthly donation scheme has increased from 60 last year to almost 300

ADD YOUR VOICE TO OURS
Contact The Trust for Irish-Medium Education about how you can make a difference.
               Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta
               199 Bóthar na bhFál,
               Béal Feirste. BT12 6FB
               Phone/Guthán 02890241510
               www.thetrustforirishmediumeducation.com
                      We knew we were going
                      through something really special
Sitting in her flat in Paris Orlaith switches effortlessly from Irish to French breaking into English only occasionally. A past pupil
of Coláiste Feirste, Orlaith with three ‘A’ grades in her A Levels and with some of the highest grade averages amongst all pupils
from all schools in the north. Her father Simon is English but Orlaith Nic Conchoille education has been completely through the
Irish Medium and now, as a student at the University of London Institute in Paris, through French.

She recalls happy schooldays in Béal Feirste.
Orlaith - “I’m from South Belfast but I went to Gaelscoil na bhFál and then to Coláiste Feirste, both in West Belfast. I really enjoyed
them. Bhí siad ar dóigh. The only downside was getting two buses to go to school! The atmosphere in school was always very
laid back and comfortable. The schools were friendly and personal and it wasn’t unusual for a teacher or the principal to know
the names of all the children in the school. We were allowed to address our teachers by their first names, which made the class
dynamic a lot less rigid. I remember thinking it was mad that my friends at English language schools had to call their teachers
by Sir or Miss. But all said and done, we worked hard and we were encouraged all the way and that is why we succeeded.

Ceist - How were the teachers?
Orlaith - The teachers were very good. They generally knew a lot, not just about their particular subjects, but also about the
Irish language and culture. That helped to inspire an interest in us. At Gaelscoil na bhFál Seán Ó Durois really stood out as a
teacher. He was just so full of interesting stories about the years he’d spent in Japan and he was always thinking of different
ways for us to learn things. He was inspiring. Also at Coláiste Feirste, the post- primary I attended, a lot of the teachers are
quite young and have fresh experience of the exam system, and that was very useful.
Thaitin mo laethanta scoile go mór liom.

Ceist - Did your parents have problems helping you with your homework?
Orlaith - That was never an issue. Teachers always made sure we knew what we had to do before we left the class, and there
was always someone to call if I got stuck on anything. Most Irish Medium schools nowadays send information to parents about
what their child is going to be learning, which makes it easier for parents to help out. There are also a lot of homework clubs.
So that didn’t pose a problem. At school I particularly enjoyed Art, English and French but we studied the full range of subjects
and each had it’s own appeal. I think I had a very comprehensive education and certainly a very enjoyable one . You also
felt like you and your friends were special, that you had something special and different which not everyone had. I think, that
out of those of us who left Coláiste Feirste last year, the majority will send their own children to Irish Medium schools in the future.

Ceist - What are you doing now?
Orlaith - At the moment I am studying French at the University of London Institute in Paris. What a treat to be living in France!
My course is interesting and taught almost entirely in French. I think that having already learnt a second language has helped
me to pick up French quicker. It’s such a bonus to have three languages to compare when doing translations and I like every
other city in the world, Paris is full of Irish people, who are always delighted when they find out I speak Irish. Is breá liom an
chathair seo. As for the future the sky’s the limit!. No matter what I do one thing is true, I have my days at Irish-Medium
Education to look back on with fondness and the Irish language to keep as part of my life forever.




3
Amharcaigí ag an scoil nua atá againn!
Look at our new school!
Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta investing in futture.




Life in the fast lane at Lisnaskea
It was the last county in the North to get Irish Medium education but Fermanagh is very much in the fast lane now
and it’s Lisnaskea which is leading the charge. £380,000 worth of aid from Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta
over the past 4 years has allowed Lisnaskea to take the huge leap from having no Irish medium school to having
both a nursery and a primary. Agus tá siad ag deifriú leo i rith an ama. Word of mouth is the surest measure
of success and the word has definitely gone out about Naíscoil and Bunscoil an Traonaigh in Lisnaskea.

Both have healthy rolls not just for next term but for several terms to come.“We’re very proud of our success’ says
Seán Ó Loingsigh, chair of the school committee. “We have two wonderful schools with modern facilities, we
have tremendous teachers and assistants, an assiduous and very capable Board of Governors, an inspiring
committee and a supportive community. We owe a debt to groups like Emmett’s GAA who have been a great
help for us an to many others. Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta especially. The donors who help finance the
Iontaobhas are as much a part of our success story as anyone else. The success of the schools has created a
feel-good factor in the wider community which is an extra bonus. But day and daily it’s all about hard work and
about making important decisions. So we won’t be taking the foot of the pedal. There are always new challenges
and we have to constantly adapt and improve to make sure that these schoolchildren have an education second
to none. Tá Lios na Scéithe ar an bhóthar ceart anois agus tá mé ag rá leat, tá tuilleadh le teacht.” With
33 children in the primary and a further 15 in the nursery Seán predicts that both the naíscoil and bunscoil will
continue to prosper, especially as they are the only Irish Medium schools in the east of the county. ‘Traonach’ is
the Irish word for Corncrake. The corncrake was chosen as the symbol of the school as both it and the Irish
language at one time faced the danger of extinction. Says Seán, “Thankfully the corncrake isn’t doing too bad
now and as for the language, well it’s doing even better still these days.”




                                                                                                                      4
Living the dream in South Derry
Magherafelt
The money given by donors to Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta buys more than bricks and mortar. It buys dreams. Something that
is all too evident in Magherafelt, where the children and parents of Naíscoil an tSeanchaí are living their dream and none of them
more so than Damian Mac Con Mhidhe. Damians pride is evident as he tells of the 15 PEG places guaranteed, of the extra
member of staff coming on board in September and of a constantly increasing demand for places. “I was aboard before I even
knew where the ship was going” says Damian, a member of the naíscoil committee. “I didn’t have to be convinced. The benefits,
educationally and linguistically are fairly self evident. And as Irish Medium schooling presents the
child with a ready to access database of their native culture I was won over from the start. But
it’s uplifting to see the kids just grow in confidence each day and to see the
delight of parents as they follow their progress. Agus tá an t-ádh dearg
orainn go bhfuil múinteoirí is cúntóirí iontach againn.” Naíscoil an
tSeanchaí opened it's doors in September 2005 and has moved
recently to a new purpose built classroom on a green field site at
Killowen Drive. Confidence is growing, so much so that the talk
now is of a bunscoil opening in the not too distant future.
“The key to growth has been community and parental
involvement” says Damian. We always welcome help
from anyone who wishes to be involved. "The business
community in Magherafelt has been very supportive as
have the GAA and so many others. But paramount
has been Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta which
has invested £90,000 in Naíscoil an tSeanchaí.
Without the financial and other support given by
Iontaobhas the school wouldn’t be here at all.”
The committee of Naíscoil an tSeanchaí has been
building links with other Irish medium schools and
has also been planning for long term expansion.
Later this month they will have a visit from one of
those behind Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach, the Irish
Medium primary school in Crumlin, county Antrim.
The parents will hear from about the challenges
and the rewards of setting up a bunscoil, a primary
school. Agus beidh fáil acu meabhrú faoi bhunscoil
a chur ar bun iad féin amach anseo. In the short term
however it’s all about the pupils and making sure that
they get the maximum benefit of being in an Irish Medium
school. This week the school slogan went up on a sign
outside Naíscoil an tSeanchaí. ‘Tóg do Ghlór’, ‘Raise
your Voice.’ And they certainly have. They have gone
from a whisper to a voice.




5
Businessman sees the
future in the Irish language
As one of those in charge of a thriving property development company, Fermac, Niall Ó Catháin
is passionate about business. But he will always make time to talk about another passion in his
life - the revival of the Irish language in his native Sleacht Néill in south County Derry.

“One hundred years ago the Sleacht Néill area, like many areas in the Sperrins was a declining
Gaeltacht area and the last native Irish speakers survived until the 1950s.

Today, 15 years since the introduction of Irish-medium Education within our area, we have
completely reversed the decline in the language – we have a young and vibrant Irish-speaking
community with over 150 children and young people fluent in Irish. We are well on our way to
reasserting our area as a modern day 21st century Gaeltacht. Indeed our area is the only one
in Ireland outside the official Gaeltacht where the majority of local primary school children are
Irish-speakers, having attended Irish-medium Education.”

So impressed was Gaeltacht minister Éamon Ó Cuív with the strides made in Slaghtneill/
Carntogher that he personally came to the area recently to launch a strategy to reassert the area
as a Gaeltacht over the coming decades.

Whilst Niall is passionate about the revival of the language within the area, as a businessman
he sees a very tangible economic benefit to the area and to the children in their future lives.

“In these competitive times being bilingual is a distinct advantage. Irish-medium Education
unlocks this potential and provides our children with a competitive advantage over their
monolingual counterparts. It covers the entire curriculum and gives all children the opportunity
to become fluent in a second language – This is a major achievement as anyone who has tried
to learn the language as an adult will know. There are clear educational advantages and
bilingual children are far more likely to learn other modern languages to a high level of fluency.

Gone are the days when people could say “sure what use is Irish to you” – Irish is without
question the best modern language to have in seeking employment in Ireland today. There are
many times more opportunities for Irish speakers in Ireland than all other modern languages put
together. I certainly would not detract from the importance of speaking foreign languages.
However, it is a fact that bilingual children are much more likely to go on to learn foreign
languages than their monolingual counterparts.

Within our own small rural area we have a total of 20 people employed because they are Irish-
speakers. This is in a range of areas from education through community development and youth
work to film making and translation services - it is in fact the single biggest sector of employment
within our area. This trend is set to continue for many years to come with the continued growth
in Irish-language education, media and the growth in the use of the Irish language generally in
society.

As a businessman I believe that the key to the success of the Irish-medium Education system is that
it gives the children who attend a competitive advantage. By providing our children with this
advantage we are equipping them well for life and giving them something extra in an
increasingly competitive world.”




                          Add your voice to ours,             contact 02890241510
                                                                                                       6
    Innovation -
    with a can do, will do’ attitude
    is the key to post primary school
    in Mid Ulster
    It isn’t often nowdays that an Irish medium school has to start without recognition
    from the Department of Education. Even so there are times when parents, more
    keenly aware of their children’s needs than the Department of Education, see
    things differently from the civil servants. With over 460 children in Irish medium
    nursery and primary schools in Mid Ulster the need for an Irish medium post
    primary school is and has been evident to all – except to the Department of
    Education. So, while the Department dithered parents have taken the initiative
    and in Cookstown in September last year Coláiste Speirín opened it’s doors.
    Innovative teachers, sparkling pupils and committed parents are part of the
    success story of each and every Irish Medium school in the North and equally
    so in Coláiste Speirín But another vital ingredient for success, especially for
    schools which aren’t recognised on Day 1, is extra financial support. Cue,
    Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta £10,000 from the Iontaobhas has helped the
    Coláiste meet some of it’s costs in it’s first year.
    “The Iontaobhas has been crucial for Irish Medium schools since the day it was
    set up and we appreciate the help they have been able to provide for us” says
    Cathal Ó Donnghaile, director of Coláiste Speirín. “Bhí an tIontaobhas riamh
    tábhachtach do scoileanna agus tá i gcónaí.“ The money from the Iontaobhas
    along with donations and support from the public, from organisations and from
    others will help us implement our long term strategy, a strategy which aims to
    have a coláiste of the highest standard meeting the needs of the children of the
    Mid Ulster area. The financial support, the community support and the support
    of parents are a great foundation on which to build a school and for me it is
    actually a privilege to be involved here.” The six pupils insa chéad bhliain, all
    girls, have written their own page in the history of Irish Medium Education in the
    North. As have teaching staff Cathal, Éadaoin Ní Mhianáin, and Neil Garland
    along with those involved in the Board of Governors who include Coalisland
    businesswoman, Marion Dorman.
    Cathal knows well that the 6 pupils in year 1 will soon be joined by many more,
    and he can predict that with confidence. In 1991 he was one of the first
    teachers in Meánscoil Feirste, the Irish Medium secondary school in Belfast.
    That school started with just 7 pupils and was not recognised by the Department
    for several years. Now it has almost 500 pupils, over 40 teaching staff, state
    of the art buildings and an impressive academic record. “Just as happened in
    the case of Coláiste Feirste we have to have confidence in our young people and
    we have to have confidence in our own ability” says Cathal. “We have mature
    and competent people involved in every aspect of Coláiste Speirín and we are
    travelling a road which has been travelled by many successful Irish Medium
    schools in the past. So we can look ahead with confidence, conscious all the
    time that it’s the pupils who are the really important people in this. It’s they who
    are at the centre of all our work and all our efforts. Is iontach go bhfuil na
    tuismitheoirí anseo sásta creidiúint iontu féin agus i gcumas ár ndaoine óga.
    Tá siad ag glacadh freagrachtaí nach beag orthu féin ach tá siad ag
    déanamh sin go fonnmhar agus muinín acu as a gcumas féin agus aird acu
    i gcónaí ar leas a bpáistí. Is laochra iad gach uile duine acu.” Due to the
    generosity of the Hibernians the Coláiste at present is based in a community
    hall in the town but plans are already afoot to move to a new and bigger site.
    With 34 years experience of setting up, building and providing resources for
    schools, and with an enviable academic record, the Irish Medium sector knows
    well how to cope with the challenges facing a school which has yet to be
    recognised by the Department. The ‘can do, will do’ spirit which brought so
    many Irish medium schools over the line in the past is certainly not lacking in
    Coláiste Speirín.

7
Phone a friend –
Gaelscoil Éanna in south East Antrim

Gaelscoil Éanna, the first Irish-Medium school in South and East Antrim, is one of a new generation of Irish Medium
schools. Situated in Glengormley, north of Belfast, it’s a young school which within just 3 years has managed to attract
enough children to open not just a nursery but also a primary school. 23 children attend the nursery, Naíscoil Eanna,
and the roll for next school year is very healthy. As well as strong numbers in the pre-school, the primary school which
opened this year has12 children in Rang 1. Numbers for next year are set to grow significantly with new parents
registering their children every week. Agus i ndiaidh dóibh stocaireacht a dhéanamh sa cheantar tá coiste na
scoileanna cinnte de go leanfaidh an dá scoil ag fás sna blianta amach romhainn.
Parental demand, the key to the success of Irish Medium education in so many areas has driven Naíscoil and Gaelscoil
Éanna forward and shows no sign of slowing. So much so that the search is on for a new site for the expanding school.
As often before Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta will be pulling out the stops to meet the demand for education in Irish
in the Greater Glengormley area.
Phone a friend says the ad and since Day One the Iontaobhas and it’s donors have been that special friend on the other
end of the phone for Naíscoil and Gaelscoil Éanna. “For parents, choosing a school for your child is one of the most
important decisions of their life” says Paddy Kelly, a member of the committee of Naíscoil Éanna.
“It’s a big investment of time, energy, and aspirations and it’s very uplifting for the committee and for the teachers that
so many parents are choosing Naíscoil and Gaelscoil Éanna. But it’s not just ‘our success story.’ Without the help of
Naomh Éanna GAA, of parents and supporters and particularly the help of the Iontaobhas, who have made an
investment of £117,000 in recent years, without all that help we wouldn’t have had this success. It has been a great
team effort. Maireann daoine faoi scath a chéile.
Paddy finished by saying “ I think it’s important to say a special word of thanks to the donors of Iontaobhas. They make
the difference for so many Irish-Medium schools, us included. School years are supposed to be ‘The Wonder Years’ and
I think that anyone who sees these children in Naíscoil and in Gaelscoil Éanna would appreciate that for them these are
indeed wonderful years!”




                                               Add your voice to ours,         contact 02890241510
                                                                                                                          8
    From a whisper
    to a voice in the Mournes




It’s the children who are the stars of the County Down at Kilkeel’s first Irish medium nursery school, Naíscoil na mBeann. Teachers
Orla Nic Aodh Bhuí and Kathy Ni Chatháin get the odd look in but the real stars are Ruairí, Aaron, Sorcha, Cormac, Jack, Una
and the other children of the nursery. The school at Maghereagh is, like every Irish Medium school, the result of a partnership
between parents, committee, local community and Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta. Eamann Mac Ruairí, a member of the
committee of Naíscoil na mBeann, says that he’s been taken aback by the level of community support. “We only opened in
September last year but we’ve had such tremendous help from tradesmen who given their services free, from locals who offered
services at reduced cost, from the local GAA, and from so many others. It’s evident that people have wanted to have an Irish
Medium school for a long time and in a sense, all we have done is to tap into all that goodwill. The Gaelic League has been
very active here for quite a while and they have also given us great support. We started off with a mother and toddlers group
but things went so well that we have now have a nursery school. And we hope sometime soon in the future, with the support of
the Iontaobhas and it’s donors, that we will set up a bunscoil, the first Irish Medium primary school right here in Kilkeel, Cill Chaoil.
”Ba mhian le hEamann thar rud ar bith eile go mbeadh an Ghaeilge mar chuid de shaol laethúil an phobail agus tá córas
oideachais i nGaeilge ar an bhealach is fearr agus is éifeachtaí chun sin a bhaint amach.
Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta knows that the £40,000 of it’s donors money which has been invested in Naíscoil na mBeann
is money well spent. An investment in talent and idealism which will in times to come bring results which exceed even the
highest expectations of parents or teachers. The stars of Naíscoil na mBeann in Kilkeel will shine bright for a long time to come.




                                                     Life long learning
                                                     a strong feature of Irish-Medium Schools
                                                     University Graduates from Ballycastle in Antrim with minister of Education
                                                     Catríona Ruane. All studied for their Diplomas in Irish through Acadamh na
                                                     hOllscolaíochta, National University of Ireland Galway. The school facilitated
                                                     the course and lecturer on site.
                                                     Iontaobhas has supported over 600 people in career development courses.
9
A donation can
make a world of difference
Dublin born Clara Ní Ghiolla has donated her house to Iontaobhas na
Gaelscolaíochta. Rud nach gcuireann iontas ar dhaoine a bhfuil aithne acu
ar Chlara, crann taca phobal na Gaeilge i gcibé áit a mbíonn cónaí uirthi.
A nurse for most of her life, a stalwart of the Credit Union movement, and a
determined advocate of Fair Trade Clara knows that a donation to the right
people can make the world a better place. In Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta
she sees an organisation which she believes can maximise the worth of any
donation which they receive. “I speak Irish and I went to an Irish language
school when I was young. I want the next generation to have the opportunity
to enrich their lives by going to an Irish-Medium school. There is a tremendous
amount of goodwill out there for the Irish language but what we need more than
anything else, I think, is a group with entrepreneurial spirit who can harness that
goodwill and put it to use in a practical way. I’m old enough to remember Gael
Linn. When it was set up in the 1950’s a lot of people ridiculed it and said that
it would be of no use. How wrong they were. Gael Linn pioneered Irish
language film and records in Irish and a lottery and so on. But they were also
a successful commercial enterprise. They were entrepreneurs and Iontaobhas,
has that same entrepreneurial spirit. They grow whatever money they get and
use it wisely. So I’m delighted to help the Iontaobhas and through them to help
the next generation."




London calling!
It will be an Irish-Medium school with a difference. For this one will be right in the
centre of London! Naíscoil Londan is scheduled to open it’s doors in September this
year. Not to be outdone parents in Liverpool are already enquiring as to how they
might open an Irish-Medium nursery by the Mersey. Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta
may well be asked to help a new wave of Irish Medium schools in the USA, in Europe
and in Australia if Irish communities there decide to follow the London example.
Dublin born Dr. Jane Moseley, Sinéad Ní Shúilleabháin, who has been living and
working in London since 1995, is one of the prime movers in Naíscoil Londan.
Sinéad recently attended the annual Irish-Medium schools conference i mBéal Feirste.      Sinéad Ní Shúilleabhain and Micheál Ó Duibh
She was impressed with the standards in the Irish-Medium schools and with the             talking about Naíscoil Londan at Belfast’s Irish
support available from bodies such as Iontaobhas. Agus tá rún daingean docht              Language Radio Station ‘Raidió Fáilte’
aici naíscoil a bhunú i Londain.

“We’re doing this for the children” says Sinead. “It doesn’t matter which background, race or religion children are from, every one
of them will be welcome in Naíscoil Londan. It’s very evident that immersion learning has many educational and linguistic advantages.
So that will attract parents and on a personal level I want to have Irish Medium education for my own two children. As well as the
educational bonus I would also like them to be aware of their rich cultural and linguistic heritage.”

Dr Réamaí Mathers from Iontaobhas na Gaelscoaliochta said “I’m convinced that this committee is very determined and very capable
and that Naíscoil Londan will become a reality. Tá siad thar a bheith dáiríre faoi seo agus creidim go n-éireoidh leo.”

The nursery school committee, which contains a lawyer, an engineer and two teachers, is at present searching for a suitable site for
the naíscoil. It is hoped that the London experience will set a precedent for other Irish communities in the US, Australia, and Europe.
Already Irish speakers in Canada have established ‘Gaeltacht Cheanada’, an area of land which they have purchased in Kingston
Ontario to accommodate Irish language activities. And last year an event to link Irish speakers throughout Europe, Gaeltacht Europe,
took place in Frankfurt. Plans are underway at present for a series of Irish language conferences and events which will take place
in North America in May. Gaeltacht Minister Eamon Ó Cuív has made it clear that the government will aid Irish language communities
not just in Ireland but abroad also.

                                                                                                                                             10
 Business and An Ghaeilge - a great team
 Brian Mc Kenna investing in
 our language and investing           Omagh Business Man
 in the future.
                                      supporting the Iontaobhas
                                      Success in business and in farming has allowed Brian Mc Kenna to donate generously to
                                      Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta, But the Omagh man has not just given money. Brian has
                                      donated time and talent a plenty as part of a team which has brought Irish Medium education
                                      to his home town. 4 years ago not a single child in Omagh was in an Irish Medium school. Now
                                      there are over 60 children and both the nursery and primary have very healthy rolls for the
                                      coming year. “It’s great to be involved with so many wonderful people’ says Brian. ‘People like
                                      Brenda Donnelly, Bríd Mac Giolla Cearra, Cait Donnelly, Seán Mac Giolla Fhiondáin and so
                                      many others. “Certainly there is hard work involved but that’s as nothing when you see the
                                      smiles on the faces of those children every day as they come into school.” “Isn’t it just tremendous
                                      when you hear them talking away in Irish with no bother at all!
                                      They should take a bow. Is páistí iontacha iad. More importantly, all those young parents
                                      who choose Irish Medium education should take a bow. They are giving their children a
                                      tremendous start in life.”
                                      Brian is very aware of the importance of the Iontaobhas. “The Iontaobhas are crucial” he says.
                                      “Absolutely crucial. Iontach iontach tábhachtach. Building for the present and for the future
                                      requires a lot of money. The Iontaobhas needs more support and that means more money. That
                                      means people should put their hand in their pocket and give. If you want to see the results of
                                      supporting the Iontaobhas you have only to look at the success of these schools here in Omagh.”
                                      In all the Iontaobhas and it’s donors have invested £270,000 in Gaelscoil and Naíscoil na
                                      gCrann in recent years and are more than happy with the result. Agus cad chuige nach
                                      mbeadh nuair a fheiceann tú an dul chun cinn atá déanta ag an teanga sa cheantar agus
                                      sa bhaile. Both schools, Naíscoil and Gaelscoil na gCrann, share a site with Killyclogher GAA
                                      and with Dún Uladh, the centre for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. All of which ensures that this
                                      little piece of Tyrone is a dynamo for the native language music and games. Both the GAA and
                                      Comhaltas have played their role in helping cement the foundations of Irish Medium schooling
                                      in the town. An Crann, the Tree, is the symbol of Gaelscoil na gCrann. It’s a symbol of life, of
                                      roots, of reaching out to others. And it’s evident that this particular Crann is in blossom and
                                      putting down very firm roots.



 £200,000 is a lot of money
 And people, especially those who have sound economic and business sense, are reluctant to
 part with such a sum unless they are absolutely certain that they will get a good return on that
 investment. So when Whiterock Industries decided to donate £200,000 of their money to
 Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta they did so for two reasons according to Seán Mag Goill.
 "Firstly because we were donating the money to a group which has over the past 7 years
 managed to spend over £4.5m very wisely in the Irish medium schools sector. With that
 £4.5m investment the Iontaobhas had managed to attract a further £12m into the sector.
 That's a return of 3 pence for each penny invested. Good business and good business sense."
 And he continued, "The second reason is that we know that business is not only about money.
 It's also about common sense. It is about investing in tomorrow. Investing in communities who
 in times to come will provide the enlightened and capable leaders of tomorrow. In both fields
 the Iontaobhas was an ideal partner."
 It was similar principles which guided Séamas de Naiper and Seán Mag Goill in 1972 when
 they set up a business in Ballymurphy in Belfast to provide employment in an area which very
 much needed both industry and employment. They decided to reinvest company money in the
 area and into one of the most positive shoots of growth in Ballymurphy, that is the Irish medium
 schools sector. On condition that the Department of Education matched their commitment
 they have donated £200,000 to Iontaobhas which will now be used to provide a permanent
 building for Naíscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh, an Irish Medium nursery school in the area. The
 Department has agreed to match the £200,000 donation and young people in Ballymurphy
 will soon start out on the path of life with many advantages that generations before them have
 never enjoyed.
 Rud a chuireann gliondar ar Philib Mistéil. Pilib Mistéil, principal of Bunscoil an tSléibhe
 Dhuibh primary school is delighted. “This gift will allow us to further improve the already
 high quality of Irish language education we offer in our preschool. Our work in this community
 is of huge significance and a new state of the art preschool building will mean we can
 enhance our preschool as well as our after school services. This in turn will mean that we can                    Seán Mag Goill,
 bring our service to the community to the next level.”                                                          Whiterock Industries
11
The Jeanette O Callaghan
Mc Kiernan legacy,
nurturing excellence from
preschool to University.



Eoin Mc Kiernan, Influential Irish American who saw the importance in Irish Medium Education


"Eoin Mc Kiernan was a bespectacled academic, a man who at first sight was seemingly more at home with books and
scholarship than with innovative genius. First impressions were misleading. He was one of the most powerful voices in the
history of the Irish in America, a man who perhaps more than any created the concept of Irish America as we know it today.
Deservedly in 1999 he was named as one of the most influential Irish Americans of the century by Irish America magazine.
He was a scholar, writer and above all an innovator when it came to reinterpreting Irish heritage." That tribute by Irish Voice
publisher, Niall O'Dowd, summed up some of what was great about Eoin Mc Kiernan. Eoin was a mover and shaker, a man
who got things done and brought energy, efficiency and vision to everything he undertook. And the Irish language was his
passion. A Gael to the core who was so impressed with the Irish language revival in the North that he left a legacy in the
name of his wife Jeanette O'Callaghan McKiernan to promote Irish medium education in the North. Each year Iontaobhas
na Gaelscolaíochta with the legacy left by Eoin presents the Jeanette O'Callaghan Mc Kiernan Award to reward excellence
preprimary Irish Medium School. Eoin McKiernan was born in New York City of Irish parents in 1915 and spent his youth in
both Manhattan and rural Ireland.

In the early 1930s Eoin won a scholarship to study in a Rosmuc, County Galway, thus beginning a lifetime of travels to and
from Ireland. An incredible scholar he earned degrees and doctorate and in the 1960's became head of the English
Department of the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota. In 1962 he founded the Irish American Cultural Institute, a
nonpolitical educational foundation which is still going strong today. During the 40 years which followed Eoin McKiernan
scripted and hosted 16 films and 53 programmes on Irish literature, language, folklore, and culture for public broadcast TV.
He also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Irish studies in the US, created schemes to bring scores of thousands of
young Irish Americans to Ireland for the first time, and brought hundreds of Irish writers, musicians and actors on tours of the
US. Over these years Eoin secured a foothold for Irish studies in the once hostile world of American universities. In his 89
years on earth Eoin Mc Kiernan was a passionate and innovative advocate of all things Irish, particularly the Irish language.
Now even 3 years after his death Eoin and his wife are still helping the next generation of children in Irish medium schooling
in the North.




                                                   Add your voice to ours,            contact 02890241510
                                                                                                                               12
                           Newry man
                           Speaking the language of business
                           Keith Quigley is Managing Director of Moffett Engineering Ltd in Dundalk. A multi-national
                           company manufacturing truck mounted forklifts, much of Moffett’s business is export. And it was
                           the insight he gained with the company abroad which made Camlough man Keith decide to
                           send his children to Irish Medium schools.

                           “I travel to Finland regularly. People speak English at meetings, but outside of meetings they
                           always speak their own language, Finnish, which I don’t think is used outside of Finland. We
                           have a plant in Friesland in the north of Holland and there the workers speak Frisian, Dutch and
                           English without any problem. We have people in Moffett Engineering Ltd who speak 5 or 6
                           languages. And of course on the continent language skills and proficiency are much higher
                           than here. So we decided that we should give our children the chance to learn another
                           language early in life and we decided that it should be Irish.”
                           Both he and his wife Sinéad talked it out before deciding to go for an Irish Medium school. Ach
                           i ndiaidh dóibh an scéal a phlé bhí siad beirt den tuairim láidir gur cheart dóibh dul leis
                           an Ghaelscolaíocht. “We didn’t have a lot of Irish ourselves and so we were a little
                           apprehensive” says Keith. “But we’re delighted that we did make the choice. Our little boy
                           Ultan went to Naíscoil Chamlocha, the nursery school in Camlough.

                           He is now at the Bunscoil in Newry. Our two girls are at the Naíscoil now and we’re looking
                           forward to them both going to the Bunscoil.” Sinéad became involved in the setting up of the
                           Naíscoil in Camlough and both she and Keith are keen supporters of Iontaobhas na
                           Gaelscolaíochta and of Irish Medium Education. “Especially at the start the support given by
                           the Iontaobhas to the Naíscoil was very important. It’s crucial that there is an organisation like
                           the Iontaobhas there to provide any backup which the schools require. Naíscoil Chamlocha
                           has gone from strength to strength, to the point where it is now oversubscribed. At a personal
                           level it’s just great to listen to Ultan skip naturally between Irish and English. Developmentally
                           that must be an advantage. I’ve no doubt that with a second language at such an early age
                           that he will have a third language later. In the business world and indeed in the larger world,
                           that must be a bonus.”




 An bhfuil Gaeilge á labhairt sa bhaile?
 Biodh Comhluadar agaibh!
     • Ocáidí sóisialta
     • Seirbhísí eolais agus comhairleacha
     • Teaghlaigh a chur in aithne dá chéile
     • Áiseanna tacaíochta
     • Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a éileamh.

     7 Sráid Lombard Thoir
     Baile Atha Cliath 2
     (00353) 1 6715116                  eolas@comhluadar.ie                       www.comhluadar.ie
13
A donation of a building
to Iontaobhas makes sense
for the Irish language
Rósa Nic Lochlainn is a senior teacher at Belfast’s Irish language College, Coláiste
Feirste, she was key in the new 6 million pound extension to the Coláiste so she has
come to understand the importance of a good capital investment. As a Trustee of
another Irish language and community business group Rósa along with the other trustees
such as Eddie Keenan looked long and hard at how they could best maximize their
efforts for the best possible impact for the community and for the Irish language “
I already make a monthly gift to the Iontaobhas through their TACA
scheme so I knew about the great work of the body. That is
why Eddie, myself and others gifted the building we had to the
Iontaobhas. With a value of £570,000, this capital can
trigger match funding, bank loans and grants.
We know Iontaobhas are business like in their outlook, have a
long term strategic approach and are already making a huge
difference throughout the north. By putting our weight behind
them the resources of our group can now make an even
greater difference.”
                                             Rósa Nic Lochlainn


                                 Ag tacú leis an Iontaobhas, ag tacú leis an phobal
                             Supporting the Irish-Medium Trust, supporting the community


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