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Fianna Fáil and Green Party education cuts - bad government by bad policy makers

15 November, 2008

Speaking at today’s INTO rally in Tullamore to protest against the government’s budget cuts in education Sinn Féin’s EU candidate in Ireland East Cllr. Tómas Sharkey described the government’s decision to slash the states education budget as “bad government by bad policy makers intent on bringing the country down for years to come.”


The Louth Councillor who is also a teacher said:


“I want to congratulate the thousands here today and I look forward to seeing increased co-operation between all teaching unions, management bodies and active support from parents bodies.”


“Over the last two weeks Sinn Féin has carried out school surveys to get on the ground feedback on how deep the government’s cuts in education are going to affect the schooling of our children. Principals are worried about the loss of book grants, learning support, cover for absentees. Schools will lose teachers and not get the new teachers they were expecting.


“St Patrick’s in Drogheda has 455 boys on the roll. 33% are newcomers and many have no English. That school will lose a class teacher and three Language Support Teachers. St Finian’s in Mid Louth has three teachers. So when one teacher is sick the remaining two teachers will have huge numbers in their classrooms. St Malachy’s Infant School will have 30 per class and lose 2 Language Support Teachers.


“Secondary Schools will have to remove subjects. De La Salle Sec school will lose their Home School Liaison teacher who has been with them since 1995, subject options will be cut, there will be no book grant supports, and there will be an end to many

Higher and Ordinary Level class groups.


“There is no doubt that this government is hell-bent on punishing our schoolchildren for their bad management of the economy. Imagine a set of parents who go on a binge for ten years wasting money left right and centre, and when money becomes scarce they insist that their children go without the essentials for a healthy education such as books, heat, sports trips, teachers. I have no doubt that we would call them bad parents.


“Now compare these actions to those of successive Fianna Fáil led governments whose own policies have created the country’s public finance crisis are now slashing vital public service budgets. Bad government by bad policy makers would be a kind description of Fianna Fáil administrative record.


“Fianna Fáil and the Greens had other choices. Increasing class sizes will save €15 million per year. The government’s annual grants to private schools is €70 million is just one very small example of whose interest Fianna Fáil and the Green Party consider when deciding government policy.


“Education is vital for the future of our country, socially and economically. Education providers work hard to maintain the flow of intelligent, educated, innovative students into Irish society. 

“As teachers we are implementing innovations such as AFL, EAL, Modh Cumarsáideach, Peer Assessment and Peer Learning, Experimental Learning to name but a few. I challenge Minister Batt O’Keeffe to implement any of these innovations in his own department work. I guarantee you had Fianna Fáil prioritised such innovation and forward thinking into its management of the country’s public finances we would not be here today.

“During the recent Dáil education cut debates some politician’s suggested that teacher’s pay should be frozen and that hard earned rises should not be paid. I reject this suggestion. It is wrong.

“It is Fianna Fáil refusal to reform this states inequitable tax system that has left our coffers bare, not teachers earning a fair days pay for a fair day work. Reform the tax system and let workers earn and pay their fair share.

“Tacaím le gach éinne anseo, leis an bhfeachtas, agus leis na daoine is tábhachtachaí … na daltaí.” ENDS

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