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Not enough in Budget for education – O’Brien

15 October, 2014 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Sinn Féin education spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien questioned the minister on her poor budget performance, while stressing the need for new apprentice courses to equip new students with the secondary skills needed to deal with any repeat of the downturn that has left so many young apprentices adrift in a downturned construction industry.

Deputy O’Brien said:

“While much has been made in this Budget about giving something back, nothing has been done to ease the financial burden of going to college, specifically the registration fee which has now risen to €3,000 a year. This is an astonishing figure at a time when more and more third level students are struggling financially. When combined with a failure to increase support for the Student Assistant Fund for a second year, this is a failure on the part of the government to ensure that as many young people as possible are able to gain a third level education.”

“The increased teacher numbers heralded yesterday are merely keeping pace with demographic growth and the cut in the capitation fund is another disappointment as it seems the government is oblivious to the reality facing many small schools that are struggling to remain open due to operating costs. By cutting this fund, the government is shifting the responsibility for supporting their children’s schools onto parents through fundraising and other efforts. This is neither a sustainable nor fair situation to put parents in.”

“I welcome the establishment of the new Apprenticeship Council and increased support for young people who want to learn a trade. However, this Council has to take into account the need for new apprentices to be able to cope with situations like the recession of recent years that forced so many to leave Ireland in their droves. This Budget has not done enough in the sector of education. A sector that is vital for the revitalisation and rebuilding of Ireland.” 

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