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Fianna Fáil & Green Party cuts in education will not be tolerated

1 November, 2008

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP this morning announced details of Sinn Féin’s campaign to reverse the education cuts. The Dublin MEP described the government’s plethora of education cuts as “an attack on the children of this stage and an economically wreakless move that will have a detrimental economic and social affect on the country into the long term. Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have no mandate for these cuts. The recession is not the cause of these cuts, government policy is. Fianna Fáil and the Greens have choices. They can tackle the public finance crisis with other avenue’s of revenue, they simply choose not to.”
Speaking in Dublin today Ms McDonald said:
“In advance of Budget 2009 Fianna Fáil and the Green Party promised to protect the vulnerable and frontline health and education services. But they have in fact delivered is one of the most inequitable budgets in recent memory.
“There should be no cuts in frontline services such as health and education. The provision of such services should be cloaked in investment. The public finance crisis, despite being of Fianna Fáil’s making, must be tackled.  
“But this government had choices. Sinn Féin in its pre budget submission suggested a range of public finance measures which would have yielded up to €2 billion per annum. These measures would have delivered an equitable mechanism to tackle the public finance crisis whilst in tandem ensured the protection of frontline services.
"Primary schools funding has been savagely attacked with increases in class sizes, caps on language support teachers at two per school, abolition of equipment and resource grants, cuts to the school building project and deferral of the Education for persons with Special Educational Needs Act.
“Secondary schools are facing cuts in key supports from disadvantages areas, cuts in investment in information technology, increases in school transport costs, abolition of grants towards the Junior certificate Schools Programme, Leaving Certificate Applied and transition year programmes to name but a few.
“Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe needs to reconsider his hard nosed approach to the cuts. It is my firm view that Minister must show humility, accept that he is wrong and reverse the education cuts. Fianna Fáil do not have a mandate of the people for cut backs in the education. This is not the ticket on which they were elected. They made commitments prior to last years election to reduce class sizes, not increase them. The recession cannot be blamed for the governments attack on the education system, it simply does not add up. The necessary monies to address the public finance crisis can be found elsewhere.  
“The government does not have public support for their budget. Public anger around the government’s class size measures is palpable and warranted. Sinn Féin will be making contact with primary and secondary schools across the country to gather information at a local level on the extent of the cuts and how schools are being affected in real terms. It my party’s intention to support families and teachers in their campaign to get these cutbacks reversed. ” ENDS

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