Crowe commends North’s education minister for securing additional funding
Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe welcomes this week’s announcement from the North’s education minister, John O’Dowd that a further £72million will be spent over the next three years following an education budget review.
Deputy Crowe said: “The £72 million extra in funding is good news for anyone interested in education on the island of Ireland.
“The additional allocation will be spent on early years, extended schools, the youth service and the maintenance of the school estate. The money was secured after an internal review led to further reductions in bureaucracy and savings from other educational services.
“I commend Minister O’Dowd for his efforts and the initiative he has shown. In the face of tough financial challenges, he has secured additional funding that will be reinvested into frontline education services. As a result of this review, low income families will now enjoy additional funding for free school meals and uniform grants and £27 million is being ring-fenced in 2012-13 to help address the maintenance backlog, a measure that is added good news for the beleaguered construction industry.
“As ever increasing numbers of families struggle to cope in these difficult financial times, a further €3.9 million is being provided to supplement provision for the 75,000 pupils in the North who currently are entitled to free school meals. This money, which will be directed towards lower income families, will be used to pay for uniform grants and free school meals and the Minister’s pro-activeness is in sharp contrast to the lack of urgency that characterises the approach of the FG/Labour government to this issue.
“Minister O’Dowd has paid more than lip-service in his attempts to find savings through addressing inefficiencies within his department’s overall budget. I look forward to similar promised savings announcements and pro-active commitments from Minister Quinn in the near future.”