The Department of Education and Science allows students in Ireland to apply to be excused from studying Irish in post-primary school.
The circumstances in which a student will be given this exemption are very limited. Where a student has lived abroad or does not speak English, they may be exempted. Students with certain disabilities may also be exempted.
Where entry to a third-level course requires a student to have a certain mark in Irish at the Leaving Certificate examination, students who have been exempted from the study of Irish may also be exempted from this requirement. This is a matter for each individual college. Generally, if a student has had an exemption during post-primary education, he/she is likely to be exempted from Irish as a college entry requirement. The student applying for a third-level course through the Central Applications Office (CAO) should send a copy of the exemption certificate with his/her CAO Application Form.
The parent/guardian must attach documentary evidence of the student's age, and previous schooling if it is relevant to the reason for the exemption being sought.
If the exemption is sought on the grounds of a disability, the parent or guardian must supply evidence of the disability from a qualified psychologist and may also require a report from an appropriate medical specialist - you should check the requirements with your child's school.
The school authorities then prepare a full report on the student.
Where an exemption is granted, a certificate of exemption is sent to the school. This signed by the school principal. It is the responsibility of the school principal to tell the parent/student about the result of the application
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