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Budget 2014: O’Brien slams education cuts

15 October, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking following the Budget speeches in the Dáil today, Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said cuts to education continued Government trend of targeting young people to carry debt burden.

The Cork North Central TD said;

“What is not contained in the budget today, is the multiannual announcements that were previously set out in other budgets such as the cuts to capitation grants by 1%, and increases in student registration charges meaning that schools are going to find it even more difficult to balance budget and students will find it more difficult to complete third level education. The issue of voluntary contributions in schools still has not been tackled. This is not all good news stories.

“The Student Contribution fee will rise by €250 to €2,750 next year, and then to €3,000 the following year. FÁS apprentices will now have to pay €540 a year in in Contribution fees.

“I welcome the guaranteed funding for DEIS schools, but given the range of cuts to other payments and services, the children who attend these schools will still carry the burden of austerity. There is a further cut to the NEPS budget. The Department of Education must ensure that every child, regardless of where he or she goes to school, has a quick access to an educational psychologist on the basis of need. This is not happening. It is extremely unfair that the children of parents who cannot afford to obtain private assessments suffer. Getting a child assessed is not easy, particularly as the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) has never run at full capacity. The School Completion Programme has also been cut which will affect the rates of children finishing school.

“If the Minister truly valued education as he says he does, he would address the costs of putting children through school.”

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