These statistics starkly illustrate the significant mis-match between demand for and the availability of access to IME
Available statistics, when analysed, show an uneven picture of provision. There are many areas of the country where little or no Irish medium education is available, at either primary or secondary.
Analysed by county, the figures show that most counties are poorly served with Irish Medium Education primary schools.
At post-primary the deficit is truly shocking, with nearly half of all counties without any Irish medium Education secondary schools.
Surveys show a widespread and consistent level of demand throughout the entire country year after year.
ESRI – 2015
23% of respondents would choose a local Gaelscoil.
USI Survey – 2019
70% of all respondents would send their children to Gaelscoileanna
How does Ireland compare to Wales?
1950: est’d. 3% of primary school children
1980’s: approx. 5% of primary school children
2019: 6.3% of all school children
1950: less than 1%
1980’s: approx. 10% of school children
2019: 23.4% of all school children
Heat Maps of % attending
Irish-Medium Education (2019)
Primary EducationRead the Report
There are c. 560,000 primary school pupils, of which c. 45,000 attend an Irish Medium Education primary school
Out of the total 3,106 primary schools, only 250 are Irish Medium Education. (102 in Gaeltacht)
The average number of primary schools in each county/local authority is 91. (Range 19 – 290)
11 out of the 34 areas have only 1 or 2 Irish Medium Education schools serving the entire county and a further 10 counties have between 3 – 5. Only 2 counties have more than 10 Irish Medium Education primary schools outside of Gaeltacht areas
While nominally there is no difference in average school size between English-medium and Irish-medium (180 vs 182), if the smaller Gaeltacht schools are excluded, then the average Irish Medium Education school size is 257, 40% larger than the average
The heat map illustrates that total Irish-medium primary education provision ranges from
1.0% (Co. Cavan) to 24.4% (Galway City).
Post-Primary / Secondary EducationRead the Report
There are c. 370,000 secondary school pupils, of which c. 14,500 attend an Irish Medium Education post-primary school.
Out of the total 723 post-primary schools, only 49 are Irish Medium Education schools, (20 in Gaeltacht)
The average number of post-primary schools in each county/local authority is 21. (Range 7 to 76)
Currently 13 counties do not have any Irish Medium Education post-primary schools at all, 3 counties with schools only in Gaeltacht area and a further 9 counties have only 1 Irish Medium Education secondary school serving the entire county (outside of Gaeltacht areas)
The average post-primary school has 514 pupils. If the 20 smaller Gaeltacht based post-primary schools are excluded, the average Irish Medium Education post-primary school pupil attendance is c. 370, of which 10% were newly opened in previous 4 years and so still in initial stage of building up pupil no’s
The heat map illustrates that total Irish-medium secondary education provision ranges from
0% (13 counties) to 14.6% (Limerick City).
a. All figures based on Dept. Ed. 2019 statistics Spreadsheet
b. All figures include Gaeltacht areas and schools.
c. Only schools that educate all children in all subjects included.
d. Detailed statistics unavailable where Irish is only partially used
e. There are no statistics available for the numbers attending the c. 7 operational aonaid established in English medium schools.
In the 10 years since the publication of the
20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language, 2010-2030:
Applications for 40 new Irish Medium Education primary schools were made
A total of 7 new Irish Medium Education schools out of 40 new primary schools were opened by Dept
There are a further 3 Irish Medium Education primary schools in the pipeline
Applications for 20 Irish Medium Education post-primary schools were lodged
3 new Irish Medium Education school have opened out of 20 new schools commissioned
There are no Irish Medium Education post-primary schools currently in the pipeline
In addition to this there were campaigns in Louth, Dublin, etc for Irish-Medium Education that were either denied or approved on a limited basis.
It was only through a direct instruction from the Minister of the day that any of the Irish-Medium Education schools were commissioned