Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien TD has welcomed today’s announcement of 100 schools to be built over the next five years. Deputy O’Brien has said this capital expenditure must be matched by equal pay for new teachers entering the profession.
Deputy O’Brien said: “We welcome today’s announcement to build 100 new schools but we need to ensure that we can still attract the best candidates into the teaching profession.
“I believe that the 14% cut in pay and the loss of allowances for newly qualified teachers has badly damaged the morale that is essential within a classroom setting. The unfair targeting of teachers has dissuaded many from pursuing a career within the Irish education sector by creating serious disparities in pay.
“We need to ensure we can attract people into teaching who have the skills and motivation to deliver the school curriculum in the future.”
Deputy O’Brien also acknowledged the minister’s commitment to ensuring innovative designs for new school builds but said this vision for the future must also be applied to existing schools.
“There are hundreds of schools across this state,” he continued, “where children are being taught in sub-standard classrooms, with Port-a-cabins being still a feature of many schools.
“It is important therefore, that when considering the capital expenditure needed to build new schools that money is found to upgrade and improve existing buildings and facilities.
“This must be a key priority for the minister in the time ahead.”