Written Answers. - Language Assistants.

Pat Carey

Question:

304 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if his Department is supporting the employment of cúntóirí teangan in Gaeltacht schools to assist children whose mother language is not Gaeilge; his views on whether such supports should be provided to children who attend scoileanna Ián Ghaelacha throughout the country, who come from homes where no Gaeilge is spoken but whose parents wish them to be educated through the medium of Gaeilge in order that they will be imbued with an interest in the language and in their national culture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2980/03]

My Department provides assistance under scéim na gcúntóirí teanga towards the provision of cuntóirí teanga in certain Gaeltacht schools. These language assistants provide help for those children who do not have a sufficient knowledge of the Irish language to enable them to fully participate in the school curriculum, which is through Irish. This scheme, which is financed from resources allocated to my Department specifically for Gaeltacht areas, is at present under review although it is not intended at this stage to extend the scheme outside of the Gaeltacht. I might also point out that the Department of Education and Science has confirmed that a more favourable pupil-teacher ratio applies to Gaelscoileanna outside the Gaeltacht than to Gaeltacht schools.