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Irish Language Exemption

Is my child eligible for an Irish language exemption?

A new process for applying for an Irish language exemption will be in place from September 2020. Although a diagnosis/psychological assessment is no longer necessary to apply for an exemption, an autism diagnosis alone is not sufficient either.

In order to qualify for an exemption under the new legislation, your child must be 12 years old and receiving their education in a mainstream English-medium school. 

Children who are enrolled in a special school or a special class on a full-time basis will not need to apply for an Irish exemption as they will already qualify.

How do I apply for an Irish language exemption?

Applications for Irish exemptions are now made to the school principal, who will base their decision on whether learning Irish is causing the child undue difficulties with his/her language development. The principal will need evidence of this from the child’s parent/guardians and all staff involved in the child’s education.

An exception may be made for children who experience significant learning disabilities – in which case the criteria set out is that they must: 

  • Have reached at least Second Class
  • Have completed standardised tests in literacy and numeracy
  • Have scored below the 10th percentile in both
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