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Ireland becoming a country of waiting lists - Crowe

17 May, 2006


Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD described Ireland as “a country of waiting lists” and said, “It is a depressing day for Irish education when parents have to camp out for days to ensure their children’s enrolment in their chosen school.”

He said, “In its programme for Government, Fianna Fáil committed to reducing class sizes for children under nine to below best international practice of a ratio of 20 pupils to one teacher by 2007. They will fail and have more or less admitted it, yet another broken promise by this dishonest government.

“Although Budget 2006 saw the provision of an additional 500 teachers over the next two years to assist in the reduction of class sizes, 250 extra teachers for this year over a system of 3,150 schools is a very small step. The average class size on Lithuania and Luxembourg is fifteen; this is what Ireland should be aspiring towards. With the government’s lack of political will other primary school crises will be replicated in the next few years due to the failure to provide sufficient secondary schools in certain areas.

“It is a depressing day for Irish education when parents have to camp out for days to ensure their children’s enrolment in their chosen school, or the day in which children are refused from schools. This is a country of waiting lists! In my own constituency in Killinarden Parish, some 2,500 further houses will be constructed; However, the local authority refuses to see the need for increased school places, supposedly on the basis of a drop in rolls.  However, any principal will state there is no drop in rolls.

“Regarding one school, Scoil Chaitlín Maude, a number of people have taken the decision to educate their children through Irish but there is no room in the school.  It was told last year that it would not get another prefab.  I am told Scoil Santain is also full.  We state that children should be allowed have that option but the reality is that seats in those classes are not available. 

“I now call on the Department of Education to engage with the relevant Departments and agencies and produce assessments to ensure population and housing trends are monitored closely to ensure all schoolchildren will have access to their local school.” ENDS

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