Go hiontach ar fad! Minister approves Irish unit at northside school

Go hiontach ar fad! Minister approves Irish unit at northside school

Teacher Hilary O'Connell celebrates with her pupils Evan, Jody and Daniel as Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald runs out of the picture after the Department of Education sanctioned an Aonad Lán Ghaeilge (Irish Unit) at Gaelcholaiste Mhic Shuibhne, Terence MacSwiney Community College, Hollyhill, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Local families have been credited for the role they played in getting an Irish unit sanctioned for Gaelcholáiste Mhic Shuibhne at Terence MacSwiney Community College in Knocknaheeny.

An Aonad Lán-Ghaeilge (Irish-medium unit), which has been officially sanctioned for the school by Education Minister Norma Foley, is a linguistic unit in which students are immersed in Irish from the start to the end of the school day. It operates within a parent school where English is the language of communication and teaching of the school.

Students Evan O'Loinsigh and his sister Jodie Nì Loingsigh, at Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Students Evan O'Loinsigh and his sister Jodie Nì Loingsigh, at Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

First established in 2019, Gaelcholáiste Mhic Shuibhne at Terence MacSwiney Community College represents another educational option for families in the City Northwest area.

Terence MacSwiney Community College principal Ms Phil O’Flynn welcomed the news.

“This wonderful achievement could not have happened without the dedication, hard work, and vision of deputy principal Neil Creedon and the staff at Gaelcholáiste Mhic Shuibhne / Terence MacSwiney Community College,” she said.

Phil O'Flynn, Principal, Hilary Nì Chonchubhair, Head of Irish Department, students, Ruby Nì Chuilinn, Jodie Nì Loingsigh, Evan O'Loinsigh, Daniel Stìobhard, Sophie Stìobhard and Julie Nìo Dhufaigh, Neil Creedon, Deputy Principal, at Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork.
Phil O'Flynn, Principal, Hilary Nì Chonchubhair, Head of Irish Department, students, Ruby Nì Chuilinn, Jodie Nì Loingsigh, Evan O'Loinsigh, Daniel Stìobhard, Sophie Stìobhard and Julie Nìo Dhufaigh, Neil Creedon, Deputy Principal, at Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork.

Ms O’Flynn also praised the staff for their “enthusiasm” and “commitment”.

“From the moment the idea of a Gaelcholáiste was proposed, staff enthusiasm and commitment were the key factors in ensuring its success,” she said. “Their enthusiasm and willingness to engage in training and upskilling were vital ingredients for a successful opening.

“Their passion for the language and appreciation of Irish culture and heritage drove this project from the start.”

Evan O'Loinsigh and his sister Jodie Nì Loingsigh, Daniel Stìobhard and his sister Sophie Stìobhard, at Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork.
Evan O'Loinsigh and his sister Jodie Nì Loingsigh, Daniel Stìobhard and his sister Sophie Stìobhard, at Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork.

Shining a light on the students themselves, Ms O’Flynn said: “Ultimately, it is all down to the local families for giving Gaelcholáiste Mhic Shuibhne a vote of confidence by sending their children to the school.

“The students themselves have been our best advocates and are spreading the word that they are receiving the highest quality education through the medium of Irish.”

Phil O'Flynn, Principal, Hilary Nì Chonchubhair, Head of Irish Department, Neil Creedon, Deputy Principal and Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, at Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork.
Phil O'Flynn, Principal, Hilary Nì Chonchubhair, Head of Irish Department, Neil Creedon, Deputy Principal and Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, at Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork.

Fianna Fáil city councillor Tony Fitzgerald heralded the news as a “great day”.

“This is a huge boost to the school, the pupils, their parents, and to the community at large to get this recognition,” he said.

“It demonstrates the interest that the school principal and all the teachers have in the students. It is a great day for the community, but particularly for the students themselves.”

Cork Education and Training Board chief executive Denis Leamy said: “We at Cork ETB provide a pathway for every learner, and improve educational resources and facilities for our primary schools, post-primary schools, and our further education colleges across the city and county on an ongoing basis.

“This sanction by Minister Foley is testament to that ethos, and we would like to thank her for her commitment to Gaelcholáiste Mhic Shuibhne, at Terence MacSwiney Community College.”

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