Sunday 18 August 2019

Childcare services in Gaeltacht areas not using Irish

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Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Not all childcare facilities in the Gaeltacht regions are using the Irish language, a new report warns.

Currently, there are no regulations stipulating that childcare providers in these areas must use the language, meaning that children under five are not being exposed to it in a formal setting.

Independent Galway West TD Catherine Connolly yesterday launched 25 key recommendations that the Irish Language Committee wants to see implemented after a report on the challenges facing childcare centres in the Gaeltacht.

The key issue is that anybody can set up a service in the Gaeltacht and no Irish is necessary, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Irish Language was told.

"Quite a sizeable number of services are functioning now in English," said Ms Connolly.

"Anybody can set up a service and no Irish is necessary, as there is no language condition attached to the setting up of any service in the areas.

"That is something we would like to see changed.

"All of the policy documents say that early education is the most important time for the language.

"So if we're serious about it, then we have to have the proper services on the ground, in terms of the acquisition and development of the language."

She said that we have the chance to develop English at a young age in various capacities, but the same opportunities were not there for people who speak Irish.

Another recommendation was that all pre-school services work together and campaign for better conditions and pay rates.

"The conditions are not very good. There is no summer pay and workers get just a little above the basic wage," added Ms Connolly.

Irish Independent

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