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Protect education, stop the handover – Crowe

25 October, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on education, Seán Crowe TD has today called on the government to “protect education and stop the handover of taxpayers’ money to the bondholders”.

Deputy Crowe called on all those who are opposed to education cuts to make their voices heard and tell the government to stop the payment of €700 million to an unsecured senior bondholder in Anglo Irish Bank on November 2.

Speaking from Leinster House Deputy Crowe said:

“It is nothing short of a scandal that cuts to the education system are taking place at a time when the government continues to hand over billions of taxpayers’ money to unguaranteed, unsecured senior bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank.

“In just over a week on November 2 the government will hand over €700 million of the peoples’ money to one such bondholder in Anglo Irish.

“Meanwhile our education system is buckling under the pressure of cuts. Over 200 Special Needs Assistants have been axed, students have had their grant slashed, parents are struggling to cope with rising costs of going to school and our school buildings are still in crisis.

“The loss of SNAs means some of our most vulnerable children are being denied the opportunity to fulfil their potential at school. By taking away such essential support within the classroom setting, children with learning and physical difficulties are finding it impossible to cope and the concept of intergrating children into mainstream education is being badly undermined. Clearly, our education system is failing our young people who are in most need of help and support.

“Instead of paying off unnamed bondholders the government could and should be using the €700 million to protect the education system.

“With this money the government could:
• Build 100 schools at a cost of €300 million and refurbish 75 more at a cost of €50 million in the next three years
• Fund a central book-buying scheme for all school children at a cost of €60 million
• Reverse changes to the non-adjacent rate of grant which has impacted on 25,000 students and their families at a cost of €43 million
• Return the over 200 SNAs cut in the last budget at a cost of €6 million

“Clearly there are alternatives. We can protect our education system if the political will exists. Handing over this money to the bondholders is a political choice.

“We in Sinn Féin are calling on the government to ‘Stop the Handover’ and we are asking people to join us in this campaign. We are asking people to lobby their local TDs and ask them to protect frontline education services. We also have a petition which we are asking people to sign.

“People power can stop this handover. Make your voices heard.”

The ‘Stop the Cuts in Education’ petition can be found at the following link

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