Speaking today, Sinn Féin Education Spokepserson Deputy Jonathan O'Brien has called on Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to come before the Oireachtas Education Committee to answer questions on how he plans to address the needs of hundreds of students who are affected by school language closures over the last fortnight.
Deputy O'Brien said:
"Given the recent developments concerning closure of many English language schools and the precarious situation that many students have found themselves in, I requested that the Chair of the Education Committee contacts Minister Ruairi Quinn to come before next committee meeting in order to set out how he intends to address the debacle and outline to members his plans for the proposed Taskforce.
"This would also be an opportune time for the Director of the Irish Council for International Students to present before the Committee and I am requesting that an invitation be extended to them also.
"Furthermore, I would like for some of the students affected by these closures to be given the opportunity to outline the impact to the Committee.
"It is important that the experiences of those most affected by this debacle are not left by the wayside.
"It is simply not good enough that these language schools were allowed to operate in such a casual manner.
"International students have paid a lot of money for English language lessons in Ireland, and they deserve to have those lessons.
"There is an obligation on the Department to ensure that they get the lessons they paid for, particularly as the Department itself failed to keep an eye on what was going on here.
"The Minister and his Departmental officials have many questions to answer and I would strongly urge him to make himself available before the Committee."