Education Minister John O’Dowd has visited new premises for Gaelscoil Neachtain in Dungiven.
Gaelscoil Neachtain opened in September 2012 and is one of only two controlled Irish-medium primary schools in Northern Ireland. The school operated at first on the site of the former St Canice’s Primary School nearby until relocating to refurbished premises at the vacant Dungiven Primary School, after a £700,000 investment by the Department.
Speaking about his visit, the Minister said: “Over the past 30 years the Irish-medium sector across the north has transformed into a vibrant, dynamic and integral part of our education system. I am committed to providing choice for parents where there is a need and it was clear that there was demand and support for education in the Irish language in the Dungiven area.
“I am delighted to be here today to see the results of my Department’s £700,000 investment which has substantially improved the school accommodation for the benefit of both the staff and the pupils. I congratulate Principal Marian Kelly and the staff at the school who have worked hard to get to this stage.
“I wish Gaelscoil Neachtain and everyone connected with the school every success as they settle into their new premises.”
Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has welcomed the visit. He said: “As more and more people are deciding to educate their children through the medium of Irish the demand for a modern Irish medium school in Dungiven grew.
“I would congratulate those people who took in the campaign to get a dedicated school for the Irish language community and we now see the fruits of their labour with this new school, Gaelscoil Neachtain.
“I am delighted that the Education Minister John O’Dowd paid a visit today to the newly finished school to endorse the work carried out before it opens it doors in the new term.
“The school will provide modern facilities in which children right across the Dungiven and Limavady area will be taught through Irish.
“I would like to thank the Minister for his commitment to the Irish language sector in ensuring tat the school is now ready for the new term.”