2 August 2007 Edition

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Review of Irish Medium Education should be 'Bold and Brave' - Ruane

Sinn Féin Education Minister in the Six Counties Caitríona Ruane has told the Project Board set up to review Irish-medium education in the North to be bold and brave in bringing forward their proposals.
The Project Board was set up by the Department of Education to review the provision of education through the Irish language.
Speaking to the Board, Ruane said that a new era in political relationships opened up new opportunities.  She said through the North South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish Council, lessons could be learned about legislating to protect and nurture native language and culture.
There was great value in making a second language available to children at an early age and Ruane plans introducing more languages in primary schools.
“The demand for Irish medium education is growing, even though the overall number of children in our schools is falling. Old education policies that applied to Irish medium may no longer be relevant and we must develop new ideas and new initiatives to support the growing demand for Irish.
“The Irish medium sector has always embraced diversity, and we must ensure all sections of our community realise that they also have ownership of the Irish language and culture. It belongs equally to every citizen on every part of the island.”
The Minister said new political relationships must ensure the Irish medium sector is treated fairly.
“The report that your Project Board delivers has the potential to make a real difference. You must be bold and brave in your thinking and innovative in the proposals you bring forward for consideration. I look forward to reading your conclusions”, Ruane said.

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