Gaeilge don Ardteist- Gaeilge for the Leaving Cert
Litir 6 Iúil 2014 (gan seolta/unsent)
I like many people if not the majority of people think that studying the Irish language should be an optional
subject for the Leaving Certificate.
I am an optimist and think that this will help Irish to be an attractive subject to most students even if many of
them do not decide to choose to do it for the Leaving Cert.
The current situation is clearly not working and has never worked. Few students in disadvantaged areas study
Irish at honours level for the Leaving Cert and even in high performing academic schools in middle and upper
class areas many do not either.
So what if in a lot of schools there are only a handful of students,orless,studying Irish for the Leaving
Certificate if it is made optional? They all will have still studied the subject until their Junior Certificate and
should if they have any interest and aptitude for learning the language have a good or reasonably good grasp of
If, I think, there were a lot more champions for the Irish language who are also in favour of Irish remaining
required or compulsory for the Leaving Cert. I would be more or a lot more inclined to support the current
situation. In reality there are very few who actually speak the language and who are prepared to debate and
engage on Irish language policies with an open mind. I only know a handful and most of them are politicians.
Most people who support Irish remaining to be a required or compulsory subject for the Leaving Cert do not
speak the language.
I don't buy into and have no relate to the pro-choice humanitarian argument some make saying it should be
optional. A lot of things in life need to be compulsory from driving with a seat-belt on to paying your television
license etc. I am in favour of Irish being an optional subject for the Leaving Cert because I love the language-
love speaking the language and think that there will be a lot more relatively speaking Irish speakers if Irish is
made optional for the Leaving Cert.
Sure there are extremists on both sides of the debate and making it optional may, ironically, make both of them
more vocal not only in the introductory debate but for one or two years after but the current situation with Irish
for the Leaving Cert is not working and never has and there is no sign of it working.
The fault lies with the State. Consecutive Governments as the elected representatives of the people allowed the
State-funded Irish language movement to represent the Irish language policy wise in political debate. Sure
Governments have and still do make decisions contrary to those organisations stated ambitions but there has
been no realism brought to the State funded Irish language organisations even today and few people think of
Irish realistically as a language that is worth speaking. Most of those who do speak the language do not care
about the language or on the other hand are too militiant when they do rarely think about the language.
The Governments conservative methodology for marking students fortheir Irish oral for the Leaving Cert. is
also anotherreason that I have lost nearly all of my faith in the status quo vis a vis the position of Irish
remaining as a compulsory subject for the Leaving Certificate.
Darren J. Prior/Mac an Phríora
Baile Átha Cliath 15