Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Unionists urged to protect education services

16 March, 2006

Sinn Féin South Eastern Education Library Board member Cllr Mickey Coogan has urged unionists to stand firm and vote against plans to cut frontline education services when they comes back to the Board next week after the decision was put off for a week.

Cllr Coogan said:

"Sinn Féin has repeatedly called on all elected representatives to stand four square against cuts to services that are being forced on the Boards by the Education Minster. The impact of these cuts will be far-reaching and lead to long-term damage.

"The approach of direct rule ministers to public services is narrow minded and driven by a slash and burn agenda. We should be looking at the changing demographics as an opportunity to improve the teacher pupil ratio and mainstream special educational needs. We should not be losing teachers and other support staff or losing school transport.

"The impact of these cuts that could be as much as 7 million will be seen in the loss of some 180 staff, the closure of school kitchens, a reduction in assessment, no new provision for special needs, only emergency maintenance and less provision for school libraries.

"We are seeking an urgent meeting between Angela Smith, Irene Knox and Sinn Féin including Caitriona Ruane, Michael Ferguson and myself.

"Next week when we come back to this decision there is a chance to follow the lead of other education boards and reject these cuts. It is not the job of the board to police inadequate budgets it is our job to deliver an efficient effective education service to the benefit of our young people." ENDS

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