Reactions to the removal of the requirement to obtain a pass mark in the Irish Language exams in order to obtain the Leaving, Intermediate and Group Certificates.

Until now, students sitting the Group, Intermediate and Leaving Certificates had to obtain a pass mark in the Irish language in order to gain qualification in the overall examinations.

Minister for Education Richard Burke announces the abolition of compulsory Irish for the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate Examinations.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim Tunney, Head of Gael Linn Donall Ó Morain, and  Joan O'Brien of the Language Freedom Movement (LFM) give their reactions to the proposed changes. 

Mr Tunney believes that the requirement to pass Irish in order to obtain the Leaving Certificate is not advantageous to the advancement of the Irish language and as such welcomes the announcement.  However, he is sceptical of proposals to drop the requirement to have Irish in order to obtain a government job. He also sees the idea of giving extra points for achieving honours in the Irish language as creating an elitism.

My interest in Irish is in having every person in Ireland speaking Irish initially no matter how bad it will be.

Donall Ó Morain says that the Irish Language Movement has been looking for reform on how Irish is taught in the educational system. 

We wanted above anything else to ensure that every student got a competent knowledge of the language before he finished secondary school.

Mr Ó Morain is hopeful that the department will provide inducements for students to continue to study Irish and that schools will teach Irish effectively. 

It's very important to note that the Minister has stated that there is no change in the overall policy of the state in relation to the restoration of the language.

Joan O'Brien is delighted with the Minister's announcement. 

Our main aim was to get rid of compulsory Irish for examinations.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 April 1973. The reporter is John McAleese.