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Doherty criticises VEC amalgamations

12 October, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Senator Pearse Doherty has criticised the decision of the Department of Education to amalgamate of 29 out of the 33 VECs in the state.

Senator Doherty said that given the track record of this government it would not be surprising if this ended up costing more than it is intended to save.

Senator Doherty said:

“This is a bad idea from a bad government. There is no evidence that this will save any money and given the track record of this government with regards to amalgamations, this could end up costing the tax-payers more money than it is supposed to save. The Minister should publish a cost-benefit analysis of this proposal before proposing any amalgamations.

“This move will also undermine democratic accountability. VECs are comprised of elected representatives, parents, staff and community representatives elected at county level. Amalgamations will mean that their input will be greatly diminished.

“This announcement comes on the evening before a long-awaited piece of legislation aimed at granting VECs patronage of primary schools. At a time when the government is proposing to increase the responsibilities of VECs, it is in fact decreasing their democratic accountability. It is because of that unique democratic accountability, that partnership approach that VECs should be entitled to become patrons of primary schools.

“We only need look at the health services to see how moving public services from county to regional administration leads to services being deteriorated. If anything VECs should be strengthened and made more accountable, not cut back.

“This is a bad move and should be stopped in its tracks. “ ENDS

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