The Minister for Education, Micheál Martin, is to set up an expert group to study possible reasons for the declining performance of pupils taking the Junior Certificate Irish examination. The Minister expressed concern at the standards reached in the exam, and said the root causes needed to be identified.

This year's results, which came out today, show that the proportion of pupils getting a grade C or higher in ordinary and foundation-level Irish has fallen by 12 and 13% respectively in the past two years. Over 63,000 students around the country received the results of their exams this morning.

Despite concern about declining standards of Irish following today’s Junior Cert results, there are positive indicators for the language at another level. The number of primary and second level Gaelscoileanna has grown dramatically in recent years with an average of ten new primary schools opening every year for the past six years.