Dyslexia association ‘very disappointed’ over report calling for abolition of system for Irish exemptions

Dyslexia Association of Ireland says points it raised with committee ‘have not been sufficiently taken into account’

The Dyslexia Association of Ireland has said it is “very disappointed” by a recommendation made in a report published this week by a Dáil committee which calls for the abolition of the system that allows students exemptions from Irish.

“We are very disappointed by the recommendations to abolish or drastically curtail access to the exemption from Irish for children and young people who are dyslexic,” the statement said.

“As a reasonable accommodation that is often transformative for dyslexic children and young people, it is perplexing that the committee have suggested this element of choice with regards to their education be removed.”

“It demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about the needs of dyslexic students, and also a lack of awareness of the legal requirements to make reasonable adjustments to meet their needs.”


The statement was released following the publication on Wednesday of a report by the Joint Committee on the Irish language and Gaeltacht on the Department of Education system of exemptions which has seen a surge in the number granted in recent years.

The Joint Committee report said students experiencing difficulties with Irish should be allocated additional resources and supports before exemptions are considered. It also recommends that students receiving an exemption should also be exempted from studying a second language.

The Oireachtas report was compiled following a series of meetings with stakeholders, education experts, Government officials and teacher representatives in 2022.

In Thursday’s statement, the Dyslexia Association of Ireland said it believed the points it raised during a meeting with the Committee “have not been sufficiently taken into account” in the report or in its recommendations.

“The Irish exemption is part of a suite of accommodations and supports that help dyslexic students fulfil their potential,” the statement said.

“We would agree that much more needs to be done to ensure that the teaching of reading and writing in Irish is more aligned to the evidence base from the Science of Reading, and that there is a well-recognised need for the provision of quality learning support for Irish to be made available to those students experiencing learning difficulties,” it added.

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Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.