Out-of-court settlement on High Court case on establishment of Gaelcholáiste

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A case was alleged in the High Court for breaching the Education Act 1998 and the Constitution of Ireland when the establishment of a Gaelcholáiste in Harold’s Cross in the capital was refused

Out-of-court settlement on High Court case on establishment of Gaelcholáiste

A decision was made out of court by a decision of the Department of Education not to allow the establishment of a Gaelcholáiste on a state-owned site in Harold’s Cross for the next school year.

A Foras Pátrúnachta and parents of a Gaelscoil in the area brought the case against the Minister for Education and the Attorney General in the High Court.

The case was heard for two days in court last Wednesday and Thursday but it is understood Report.ie that the parties reached an out-of-court settlement on Friday.

The Judge took AlmostaghHanlon thanks all parties and welcomed the news that a solution had been reached.

The terms of the compromise are confidential according to the arrangement made.

In court Thursday, Cormac Ó Dúlacháin, senior counsel for An Foras Pátrúnachta and the other complainants, said in an affidavit that the Department of Education stated that the site had insufficient space to accommodate two post-primary schools and that a Gaelcholáiste on the site in Harold’s Cross would harm its nearest Gaelcholáiste.

The council, he said, was advised by the statement that the Department had always made up its mind that the site would be built on an English-medium post-primary school with 1,000 students.

The Department and State’s evidence was due to be heard on Friday but a solution was reached to which the parties were satisfied.

The complainants sought to overturn the decision to reject the request for the establishment of a Gaelcholáiste on the site, which they say contravened the Education Act 1998 and the Constitution of Ireland.

Caitríona Uí Lochlainn and Christine Ní Chiardubhán said that their children were attending Gaelscoil Mológa and that the decision was an infringement of their language rights and their parental rights which meant there would be no opportunity to send the children to a Gaelcholáiste in the area.

Cormac Ó Dúlacháin and Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh were the legal staff of the challenge.

They argued that the site had sufficient space for an English-medium school of 600 pupils and an all-Irish school of 400 and that the high demand for Irish-medium education in the area should be met.

In November 2019 the Minister for Education decided to approve a new post-primary school for the Dublin / Clonskeagh and Dublin 6 West areas. The Department of Education indicated that 291 parents in the area supported the Educate Together application to be a patron of the new school and 167 supported the application of An Foras Pátrúnachta to become the patron. It was stated that Dublin City Education and Training Board’s application received 60 votes and seven supported the application by Scoil Sinéad.

32.76% wanted Irish to be the language of instruction in the new school and 61.9% wanted an English school. It was stated that there were no Gaelcholáistí in the two school planning areas and that Ballinteer, 3.54 kilometres from the site in Harold’s Cross, was the closest Gaelcholáiste to the area. The Department of Education decided to award the patronage of the new school to Educate Together and that it would be a multi-denominational English-medium school with an Irish Unit.

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