Minister O’Gorman launches public consultation on Irish language provision in early learning and care and school-age childcare

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

Published on 6 June 2024

Last updated on 6 June 2024

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has today announced the launch of a public consultation on a national plan for Irish language provision in Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School-Age Childcare (SAC).

The consultation will seek views on how best the Government can support the provision of Irish-medium ELC and SAC, and it will also explore what role the Irish language should play in English-medium ELC and SAC services.

The consultation process, starting on 6 June and running until 12 July, will be an opportunity for all parties involved and interested in the Irish language in ELC and SAC to voice their opinions. Stakeholders will be able to participate in and give their feedback through an online survey, through both online and in-person focus groups, and through a national stakeholder event. The process will also include consultation with children.

The consultation process follows through on commitments in First 5: A Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families and in the 5 Year Action Plan for the Irish Language 2018 – 2022. First 5 includes commitments to introduce measures to ensure that children in Gaeltacht areas have access to Irish-medium ELC and SAC provision, and also to develop mechanisms to provide Irish-language supports to ELC and SAC provision where there are high proportions of children who are learning through the medium of Irish. The 5-Year Action Plan for the Irish Language includes a commitment to develop a comprehensive plan for the sector.

Speaking about the consultation, Minister O’Gorman said:

“It is important to ensure that strong supports are in place for Irish-language provision in early childhood. Public consultation is central to the development of a plan that is robust and effective, and that reflects the importance of our national language for young children and for society in general. The views of all stakeholders are important and I would like to encourage widespread participation from anyone interested in this significant issue.

“Early childhood is fundamental in providing solid foundations for our children. The development of a comprehensive plan for Irish-language provision in ELC and SAC shows my Department’s commitment to support the use of Irish in children’s early years in all areas of the country.”

Feedback and insights from children and young people, parents, early years educators, school-age childcare practitioners, ELC and SAC settings, Irish-language organisations, ELC support organisations, and all other interested parties will play an important role in shaping the development of a national plan for Irish language supports for ELC and SAC.

Make your voice heard by joining the public consultation here .


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