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Gardiner must accept responsibility to sort out cash crisis facing Education Boards

2 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland has said that the British direct rule Education Minster Barry Gardiner must accept responsibility for sorting out the cash crisis facing the Education Library Boards.

Mr Hyland said:

"Barry Gardiner must recognise that there is crisis facing all education boards. This is not down to weak financial management. It is because they do not have enough money to provide the level of service required.

"It is time that Mr Gardiner examined the failure of direct rule ministers to take responsibility for this situation. The department must also come clean on the impact on inflation and wage pressures on money available for front line services.

"There must be real increases in spending, in next financial cycle, beyond those swallowed up by inflationary pressures, to deliver services, particularly to meet increased Special Education Needs priorities.

"Quick fixes are not the answer and will cause nothing more than further hardship and indeed financial crisis. The proposals aimed at cutting millions from the budgets of the various boards that are currently identified as facing huge deficits will have very serious consequences. Children's education must not suffer.

"The approach adopted by Barry Gardiner will have only one outcome. It will impact on services for young people and have a long-term impact on the education of our young people. This is unforgivable and it is time that Mr Gardiner accepted responsibility for this situation." ENDS

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