Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Cost of reducing class sizes decision just €15million - Doherty

6 November, 2008 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty today met with representatives from the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) including general secretary John Carr. Senator Doherty outlined Sinn Féin's continued support and campaign for the reversal of the savage cuts in Education.

He went on to call for an overall review of the budget saying the Government failed to take the tough decisions and instead targeted vulnerable sectors of society.

He said, "Sinn Féin activists throughout the state have been actively campaigning against the savage cuts in education. We have been engaging with parents, teachers and students and there is an overwhelming anger out there at these cutbacks.

"The cost of reversing the decision to increase class sizes is €15million per year. In the overall scheme of things this is not a huge amount of money and, if the Government got its priorities right, it could be provided. Many parents will be quite angry to learn that this is just a sixth of the amount of money provided to private schools on an annual basis.

"The Government did not have to target children with cutbacks to raise revenue. There were other options open to them as Sinn Féin pointed out at the time.

"They could have raised up to €1billion by making all discretionary tax relief schemes available only at the standard rate. They could have raised €334million by getting rid of the PRSI ceiling, something supported by government departments. They could have ended tax breaks for private hospitals. They could have accessed the National Pension Reserve Fund for key infrastructure projects. Yet they chose instead to raise class sizes and take medical cards from the elderly. Shame on them.

"There needs to be an overall review of the budget. Quite clearly the Government failed to take any tough decisions to target revenue an instead opted to target vulnerable sectors of society. We need to see a budget that protects our most vulnerable while providing job opportunities and education and training for those who have lost their jobs." ENDS

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