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Reilly to oppose Meath VEC cuts at emergency meeting on Friday

22 October, 2008

Meath Sinn Féin Councillor Joe Reilly has warned that savage cuts to the County Meath VEC budget can not be tolerated. Councillor Reilly was speaking ahead of an emergency meeting of the VEC this Friday.

He said, "Much has been made over the disgraceful decision to cut over 70's medical cards and so much of the attention has been taken off the other cuts. But already this week we have seen that up to 1,200 teachers will lose their jobs and that the pupil/teacher ration at primary level is to increase.

"On Friday we will be presented with the implications of this Fianna Fáil budget at post primary level. Those implications include proposals for a reduction of 500 places in the Back to School Initiative, a reduction of over 100 places in Traveller Senior Training Centres. Grants to Youth Centres are being cut by over 8%, from €52.6m down to €48.2m.

"The budget also proposed a reduction in 'teacher in service education' support of 10%.

"School transport costs for post primary students are to increase to an annual fee of €168 for junior cycle children and €234 for senior cycle children. The maximum amount per family school transport rises to €650 per annum.

"Other cuts include a 26% reduction in the regional office structure, and 8% increase in examination fees, a reduction of 3% in administration and the closure of the early childhood development and education centre.

"On entering the Dail on Budget Day the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan stated that it was his budgetary intention to protect the most venerable in society. What we have witnessed so far is that the old, the sick and now the children and parents are under attack by this government.

"Irish people form hedge school days have always placed a high priority of importance on their children's education. Voices must be raised again in defence of our children's education.

"On Friday I will oppose these proposed cuts. This Government must face the same reality on education that they faced on the medical card fiasco. Fianna Fáil Councillors on the VEC must stand firm and also oppose cut-backs and unnecessary increases." ENDS

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