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Mother loses court battle to enrol son in Gaelscoil

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A MOTHER has lost her court battle with her estranged partner to have their son enrolled in a primary Gaelscoil.

At the Family Law Court, Judge Mary Larkin issued a ‘Níl’ to the mother’s wish to enrol the couple’s young boy at her local Gaelscoil.

Instead, Judge Larkin made a court order directing that the child commence school chosen by the boy’s father where subjects – apart from Irish – will be taught through English.

In making her ruling, Judge Larkin stated that she has taken into account that the child has speech and language difficulties and that she was absolutely satisfied that a second language can be introduced later.

Judge Larkin said that “when he goes to school there is no need for the child to be perplexed or bothered by a second language while he is coming to terms with his first language”.

The couple have joint custody of the child and Judge Larkin criticised the two over their failure to resolve their differences outside the family court.

She stated, “It is most unpleasant for both of ye and most unnecessary. Educated, professional people like yourselves should not be coming in here in front of someone like me making decisions about the life of your child.”

Judge Larkin told the two, “It is clear to me that ye can’t agree to cross the road and I am still left ‘trying to divide the baby’. Neither of you are impressing me and ye are both pursuing the agenda of disagreeing with each other.”

The mother told the court that she believes her son would benefit from going to a Gaelscoil.

She said, “We speak Irish in the home. My son gets excited when I take out Irish books. I really want my son to speak Irish and go to a Gaelscoil.

She added: “I didn’t go to a Gaelsoil because it wasn’t available where I was living. We are very good as a family in languages. I got an A in Irish.”

The woman said there was no reason why her son couldn’t take a second language.

She said, “Children that age are like sponges and for my son to have a second language, it would really help the child.”

The mother said that her son’s speech and language is improving incrementally.

The mother further stated: “I will help in a Gaelscoil – if I need to go to extra classes myself further along the line I am willing to.”

The woman said that her ex-partner “can learn Irish and he learned Irish in primary and secondary school. Irish can be learned through play.”

She said that learning Irish is very accessible.

The father told the court that his son is receiving help for his speech and language from a speech and language therapist and she told him that learning a second language “could prove very difficult” for the boy.

Asked by his solicitor, Oonagh Moylan does he speak Irish, the man replied “no – not at all”.

Asked would be able to assist his son in Irish homework, the man replied “not at all – no”.

Judge Larkin told the mother that she could appeal her order to the circuit court.

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