Friday 9 December 2016

Polish government want Polish language taught in Irish schools

Published 24/11/2016 | 18:51

The Minster for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski at Iveagh House. Picture: MAXWELLPHOTOGRAPHY.IE
The Minster for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski at Iveagh House. Picture: MAXWELLPHOTOGRAPHY.IE
The Minster for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski at Iveagh House. Picture: MAXWELLPHOTOGRAPHY.IE

The Polish Government want the Polish language taught in the Irish education system, their Foreign Minister has said.

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Mr Witold Waszczykowski had talks in Dublin with his counterpart, Charlie Flanagan, and later met Education Minister, Richard Bruton. He said he was determined to keep lobbying for more recognition for the Polish language and culture in Ireland.

Mr Flanagan said there are 150,000 Polish people living in Ireland and they are making a great contribution to the country. He said 700 people did Polish in the Leaving Certificate last year and he looked forward to increased cultural and trade links between the two countries

The Polish Foreign Minister earlier laid flowers at a statue of Countess Markievicz in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.  The 1916 Rising Commandant was married to Polish aristocrat, Count Casimir Markievicz.

Mr Waszczykowski said Polish people living in Ireland were “good citizens” and he said he was determined to keep lobbying for greater recognition of their culture and language, especially in the education system. “I think they deserve that Polish culture is cultivated here,” the Minister told reporters.

Irish government sources said the Education Department will publish a new strategy on modern language teaching early in the New Year. This will look at how best to support young people who are native speakers of a large number of languages, including Polish, and will also look at how best to harness this advantage to Ireland’s cultural and economic advantage.

The Polish Minister said his government was very concerned about Britain leaving the EU, especially about the implications for the tens of thousands of Polish people living in Britain. He suggested Britain must give some concessions on immigration and freedom of movement on the upcoming Brexit talks.

“We also understand and appreciate the unique position of Ireland vis á vis the United Kingdom,” Mr Waszczykowski said.

Asked about the implications for EU defence policy from US President-elect Donald Trump's statements about disengagement from Euorpe, Mr Waszczykowski said "campaign statements" were now being replaced by “traditional US Republican foreign policies.” He believed the USA would continue to honour its NATO defence obligations in Europe.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said the cumulative amount of Irish-Polish trade was now worth €3bn per year and growing at 20pc per year.  He said there were 60 flights every day between Ireland and Poland serving 12 Polish Airports.

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