Changes to the way schools grant exemptions from Irish are coming in from September.
Irish is a compulsory subject here, but some students can opt out due to special education needs or if most of a child's primary education was in another country.
Almost 40,000 pupils in Irish schools avail of Irish exemptions.
For the first time in over 25 years, the Minister for Education has announced new criteria for schools to grant students an exemption from Irish after a public consultation.
Under the new changes, pupils in special schools or special classes will be automatically exempt, and students with special needs or learning difficulties will no longer need a psychologists report.
Exemptions will continue to be awards by school principals and for the first time there will be an appeals system.
Minister Joe Mchugh says the new system which will be introduced in September will be fairer and more supportive of students.