Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Minister revisits Primary Programme

June 20th, 2008

healthy-schools-award.jpgEducation Minister, Caitríona Ruane, today met with school children taking part in the Primary Sports Programme at St Malachy’s High School in Castlewellan.The programme sees both Gaelic Athletic Coaches (GAA) and Irish Football Association (IFA) coaches working with schools to teach basic ball skills and encourage children to get involved in sport.

During the visit the Minister met children and coaches taking part in the GAA programme and was on hand to present plaques and T-shirts to some of the participating schools.

Ms Ruane said “I am delighted today to meet some of the children benefiting from the Primary Sports Programme which I launched back in November 2007. To date nearly 300 schools have taken part in the GAA coaching sessions. I am a strong believer that being active and getting involved in sport are important for both our health and well being.  Programmes such as this can help children to enjoy sport and encourage a life long interest.

“Some 640 teachers have been working closely with the coaches to ensure that the programme complements the new revised curriculum. After coaching sessions schools have used follow up class teaching, including homework, healthy break times and after schools clubs to promote a healthier lifestyle.

“I would like to thank both the GAA and IFA for supporting this programme and all the work they have put in to make it a reality. It is due to their effort in recruiting good coaches to work alongside teachers that we are able to deliver a fun and exciting way for children to be more active and participate in sport.  I would also like to thank the teachers and staff here at St Malachy’s High School in Castlewellan for hosting the event”.


Schools interested in finding out more information about the programme can phone the Ulster Council GAA on (028) 3752 1900 or the IFA on (028) 9066 9458



  1. The Primary Sports Programme works with children in schools between the ages of four and eight and is aimed at developing physical literacy and encouraging participation in sport.
  2. Schools attending the awards ceremony were:
    o        Clea Primary School, Keady
    o        St Mary’s Primary School, Derrytrasna
    o        Cloughue Primary School, Newry
    o        Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain, Belfast
    o        Oakwood Integrated Primary School, Belfast
    o        St Patrick’s Primary School, Aghagallon
    o        St Patrick’s Primary School, Moneymore
    o        St Columba’s Primary School, Kilrea
    o        Edendork Primary School, Edendork
    o        St Matthew’s Primary School, Magheramayo
    o        St Malachy’s Kilclief
    o        St Finian’s Primary School, Newtownards
    o        St Colman’s Primary School, Saval
  1. Media queries, contact the Department of Education Press Office on (028) 9127 9755
  2. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

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