Learning the language . . . but hardly any native speakers go to Gaelgoir pre-schools

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jul 6 00:55:43 UTC 2007

  Learning the language . . . but hardly any native speakers go to Gaelgoir

There were only three native Irish speakers attending naionrai in the Kerry
Gaeltacht during the school year 2004 to 2005, while none of the 84 children
attending naionrai in Mayo were native Irish speakers.

The figures are confirmed in the annual report of Comhar Naionrai na
Gaeltachta, which oversees naionra curriculum and training.

Over half of the children in Kerry naionrai had no understanding whatsoever
of Irish. The figures are stronger, however, in the Galway and Donegal
Gaeltacht. In Galway, a quarter of all children in naionrai were native
Irish speakers, although a further 16pc had no understanding of the

Certain areas in Galway were stronger than others, with all children in
naionrai in An Cheathrú Rua and Inis Meáin, for example, being native

On the other hand, no child attending naionrai east of Galway city, in
Terryland and Claregalway, had any understanding of Irish.

In Donegal, two-thirds of children in naionrai last year had at least some
understanding of Irish.

A spokesperson for Comhar told RTE Nuacht that the figures followed
Irish-language census patterns in the Gaeltacht. She added that it was a
testament to the work of the naionrai that most children had fluent Irish by
the time they had left the naionra and had entered the primary education

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