Speaking after Sinn Féin today announced a party reshuffle of Oireachtas spokespeople, newly appointed Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien, TD for Cork North Central said he was looking forward to fulfilling a challenging role within Leinster House.
Deputy O’Brien also paid tribute to his party colleague Seán Crowe TD who he replaces as Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson and is now taking up the Foreign Affair’s brief.
“I am looking forward to meeting the challenges that comes with being Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson in the 26 counties”, Deputy O’Brien said, “and replacing Seán means I have big shoes to fill.
“Education accounts for 17% of total State expenditure – a figure of €8.6bn that in 2012 was cut by €132.3m. Last year, some of our most vulnerable children fell victim to a range of cuts, as did newly qualified teachers and a range of other essential frontline services. This resulted in the loss of school guidance counsellors, reduced capitation grants, rising transport costs and higher third level fees.
“As we approach December’s budget there are fears that Education Minister Ruairí Quinn will continue the slash and burn policies that have hallmarked his Government’s 18 month tenure.
“In my role as Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson I am determined to put forward alternative proposals that will protect and enhance our education system by ensuring the fairer allocation of resources.
“I am excited at this new appointment and I greatly look forward to working with all of the various stakeholders, trade unions, teachers and parents in the time ahead.”