First bilingual Irish-Australian school? An chéad scoil dhátheangach Ghaelastrálach?

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Éamon, Gil, Domhnall, Val, Siún, Lonán, Sally, Colm, Cristóir, Deirdre, Seán, Raghnaid, Liam. We are but a handful of those who speak Irish and call Australia home, a language community stemming as far back as the days of the convict ships. We are also school teachers, parents, nurses, I.T. technicians, grandparents and doctors - to name just some of our experience and expertise. Our shared passion for Irish language learning, literature, song & celebration has brought us together on a regular basis.

Éamon, Gil, Domhnall, Val, Siún, Lonán, Sorcha, Colm, Cristóir, Deirdre, Seán, Raghnaid, Liam. Níl ionainne ach baicle bheag díobh siúd a bhfuil an Ghaeilge acu agus arb í an Astráil a ndúiche, pobal teanga atá ann féin ó aimsir longa na ndaoránach i leith. Is múinteoirí scoile, tuismitheoirí, altraí, lucht na ríomheolaíochta, seanmhuintir agus lianna - gan ach sciar beag denár gcuid taithí agus saineolais a lua. Is as ár ngean i gcoitinne um fhoghlaim, léann, ceol agus ceiliúradh na Gaeilge a chuireamar aithne ar a chéile ó thús.

 

But as children and grandchildren come into the picture, the lack of representation of our language community in Australian schools and multilingual broadcast media is forcing us as Irish speakers to choose between our love of life in Australia and our love for our heritage language community. Often living with non-Irish-speaking partners and with little opportunity to express our Irish language identity in our workplaces, we are often 'snámh in aghaidh easa' (swimming against the current) to keep our community alive and to pass on our ancient tongue – having been spoken continuously for at least 2,500 years – onto our children & grandchildren. However, the likes of Deutsche Schule Melbourne, Cumann Gaeilge na hAstráile (‘Irish language Association of Australia’), Wellers Hill State School and, of course, the success of Ireland’s own burgeoning Irish-medium schools have motivated us to question this long-accepted paradigm of silencing our Irish language identity in our Australian places of learning & employment.

Ach de réir mar a bhíonns méadú ar líon na gclann agus na ngarchlann linn sa scéal, cuireann an easpa ionadaíochta umár bpobal teanga i scoileanna agus in ábhar craolacháin ilteangach na hAstráile iallach ar Ghaeilgeoirí go mbainfimis rogha eatarthu as an dúil atá againn i nós maireachtála na tíre seo nó ár ndúil i bpobal na teanga dúchais dúinn. Go minic mar chuid de lánúin nach bhfuil Gaeilge ag an duine eile ann agus freisin ag obair in áiteanna arb annamh an deis iontu go gcuirimid ár bhféiniúlacht mar Ghaeilgeoirí in iúl, is ag snámh in aghaidh easa a bhímid go mairfeadh ár bpobal agus go mbeadh teanga ár sinsear romhainn – atá ann go buan le 2,500 bliain anuas ar a laghad – agár gclann agus ár ngarchlann feasta. Spreag leithéidí Deutsche Schule Melbourne, Cumann Gaeilge na hAstráile, Wellers Hill State School agus, ar ndóigh, rath na nGaelscoileanna faoi bhláth in Éirinn féin go mbréagnóimis nós seanchaite seo an tosta ar an bhféiniúlacht Ghaeilgeora sna háiteanna léinn 7 oibre dúinn. 

 

We know that many, diverse voices make a strong, rich democracy. Indeed, Australians are one of the most multilingual groups of people in the world. We also know that multilingualism has benefits for young people’s developing brains, as well as for social cohesion. But with the aging of Melbourne’s Irish language speakers plus their younger counterparts having to make a choice between raising a multilingual family or calling Australia home, we’re all losing some of the unique perspective this community offers. With this in mind, it seems the time is right for the first bilingual Irish-Australian school, probably in the vicinity of Saint Kilda. National census data has repeatedly reflected Australia as being one of the most Irish populations outside of Ireland itself, and that the greater Saint Kilda area represents one of Australia’s most Irish suburbs within that. With us also having paid taxes, our language community now asks that relevant government and educational bodies provide us with the support needed in terms of learning resources & facilities to at last be able to enjoy some representation amongst mainstream schools. Most importantly, if you or someone you know – of whatever background – also think[s] the time is just right for the first bilingual Irish-Australian school, please help us to make the case by completing this form.

Tuigimid gurb é dá mhéid guthanna ilghnéitheacha is treise an daonlathas a bhíonns ann. Leoga, is í muintir na hAstráile ar cheann de mhuintireacha is ilteangaí na cruinne. Tuigimid freisin go gcothaíonn an t-ilteangachas inchinn an ógánaigh mar aon le hacmhainn na dea-chuideachta eadrainn. Ach toisc roinnt de lucht na Gaeilge Ṁelbourne chun na scothbhlianta agus an rogha idir clann ilteangach a thógáil nó fanacht san Astráil ar a leithéidí níos óige, is ionann an léig atá ar léargas uathúil saoil an phobail seo agus ár mbochtú go léir féin. Is amhlaidh go mbeadh an uair cheart ann go mbunófaí an chéad scoil dhátheangach Ghaelastrálach, is dóichí i bhfoisceacht Ṡaint Kilda. Tugann faisnéis daonáirimh uair i ndiaidh a chéile le fios gurb í muintir na hAstráile ar cheann de na muintireacha is Gaelaí lasmuigh d'Éirinn féin agus gur fíre an scéal fós i Saint Kilda agus sa cheantar máguaird. Ós rud é go mbíonn cánacha á n-íoc againne freisin, iarrann ár bpobal teanga go soláthródh eagraíochtaí bainteacha rialtais agus oideachais tacaíocht um acmhainní 7 áiseanna foghlama atá de dhíth go mbainimid ionadaíocht éigin amach faoi dheireadh laistigh den ghnáthchóras scolaíochta. Lena chois sin, má mheasann tusa nó duine go bhfuil aithne agat air - beag beann ar an áit arb as é - go bhfuil an uair cheart ann go mbunófaí an chéad scoil dhátheangach Ghaelastrálach, iarrtar cúnamh ort go gcuirimid an rún seo chun cinn as an gcáipéis seo a bhreacadh. 

 

GRMA - 'ar scáth a chéile a mhairimid' (Thanks - 'we get by under the shelter of one another')!