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Fianna Fáil and the Greens will be punished at the polls - Doherty

30 October, 2008 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has said cuts in the education sector will have a devastating effect on teachers and pupils. He said Fianna Fáil and the Greens will pay for their savage attack on education at future polls. Senator Doherty was speaking today after the Government Parties voted down a motion in the Dáil to reverse the decision to increase class sizes.

He said, "The effect of this cut will be that our students will now be taught in the most overcrowded classrooms in the EU with a detrimental impact on their learning capabilities.

"It also has a devastating impact on teachers. Over 1,000 teachers will be taken out of the system while those who remain face a much more difficult task to teach the curriculum to a higher number of students in overcrowded classrooms. Our teachers work in some of the most difficult environment's and circumstances in the EU and should be rewarded for their dedication.

"However, this Government has shamefully made their positions even worse than they were while some in the opposition have proposed a public sector wage cap that would have a detrimental impact on many teachers' wages. I would encourage the public to continue in their support for the teachers, the unions and the education partners and not to support a wage cap on teachers' salaries. There are other revenue raising options open to Government.

"They could have raised up to €1billion by making all discretionary tax relief schemes available only at the standard rate. They could have raised €334million by getting rid of the PRSI ceiling, something supported by government departments. They could have ended tax breaks for private hospitals. They could have accessed the National Pension Reserve Fund for key infrastructure projects. Yet they chose instead to raise class sizes and take medical cards from the elderly. Shame on them.

"It is my view that Fianna Fáil and the Green Party will be punished for their savage attack on pupils, teachers, parents and the entire education sector at future polls. They should be ashamed of themselves for rejecting today's motion on class sizes." ENDS

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