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Class size figures make a mockery of Fianna Fáil's pre election commitments - Doherty

8 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has called on Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe to say publicly if the Government intends to live up to its pre election promise to reduce class sizes. Senator Doherty was speaking today as it was revealed that almost 100,000 children are still being taught in classes of thirty or more children.

He said, "The figures released today by the Department of Education are completely unacceptable and make a mockery of Fianna Fáil's commitment to reduce class sizes. It is now time for Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe to come out and state publicly where the commitment to cut class sizes lies.

"If the Government remains committed to reducing class sizes then the Minister must publish a school building list which clearly shows when and where schools will be built to cater for increased number of students. This was the practice of previous Ministers and was generally regarded as good practice before it was abandoned by Mary Hanafin.

"The current economic downturn must not be used as an excuse to abandon commitments on class sizes. In fact investment in education must be part of a long term economic strategy to take us out of economic decline and to genuinely build the knowledge based economy that is so often talked of." ENDS

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