Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Minister must act on Mayo V.E.C debacle

14 October, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Science, Seán Crowe TD has called on Minister for Education Mary Hanafin to intervene and prevent the ending by Co Mayo V.E.C of Literacy and Back To Education Initiative courses. Mayo V.E.C are suspending the courses until an unspecified time in January because of a shortfall in its budget which they claim is the fault of the Government.

Speaking today Deputy Crowe said, "Mayo V.E.C claims a shortfall of between 50,000 Euro and 100,000 Euro in it's budget as the reason that these courses will be suspended until sometime in January. In the case of students on the Back To Education Initiative courses this will not leave enough time to complete the course. These courses are in Childcare and Healthcare; much needed skills within the community. Furthermore failure to complete these jobs will have obvious implications on the employment prospects of these people which defeats the purpose of the course in the first place.

"Literacy students have been betrayed by those they turned to for help. The stigma associated with illiteracy means it takes a huge amount of courage to come forward and seek to address it. This is a disgraceful situation.

"Just to put all of this in context what we are talking about here is 1000 Back To Education Initiative students, 700 Literacy students and 50 tutors. The tutors have no contract and were only informed this week that they would have to be let go until January.

"I am calling on Minister Hanafin to provide the money required to prevent the ending of these courses and the hardship it will cause to so many people" ENDS

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