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Education sector suffering from years of neglect - Doherty

16 April, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking after attending TUI conference in Cork Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has accused the Government of cutting at the skeleton of an education system that has never received proper funding even throughout the years of the Celtic Tiger. Senator Doherty accused successive Fianna Fáil led Governments of failing to adequately invest in education.

Speaking from Cork this afternoon Senator Doherty said “The Minister obviously found it very tough to defend Government cutbacks in education at this week’s TUI conference but he only has his and successive Fianna Fáil led Governments to blame. The current Government is attempting to cut away at the skeleton of an education system which is suffering from years of under funding from successive Fianna Fáil led Governments.

“During the years of record economic growth Fianna Fáil continually failed to meet the demands of Sinn Féin and others to increase funding for the education sector to the OECD average of 6% of GDP. As a result our education system suffers chronic overcrowding, our children are taught in prefab classrooms, we face the return of third level fees, teachers are being let go and the current Government continues in its attempt to draw further blood from this stone.

“Had the Government invested properly in education when the economy was healthy we would have been in a much better position to weather the storm of the current economic crisis. However, as it is, the education sector cannot sustain any further cutbacks.

“In fact we must look at investment in the education sector as a key part of any economic recovery plan. If we are serious about building a knowledge based economy then investment is crucial and Sinn Féin continues to call for education investment to be increased to 6% of GDP. Furthermore, Minister O‘Keeffe should produce a five year plan for funding in the education sector including a school building plan with indicative dates for proceeding to construction.” ENDS

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