Minister vague over cuts to DEIS schools
Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson, Deputy Seán Crowe, has expressed serious concerns that the review announced last week into the government’s decision to target teaching posts to DEIS schools will ultimately be a number crunching exercise that will fail to reverse many of the feared cuts.
Deputy Crowe was speaking after he raised the matter with Education Minister Ruairí Quinn during questions in the Dáil.
He continued: “When I asked the Minister what the terms of reference were for the review; how many of the 428 pre-DEIS legacy posts were at risk and how an increase in the pupil/teacher ratio would impact on class sizes in individual schools, the answers I received were at best vague and unconvincing.
“There is still a good deal of confusion around what the review hopes to achieve and Minister Quinn has done little to allay these concerns.
“It is very important that this review is completed within its timeframe and the findings published in a clear and concise way. Principals, parents and students are looking for answers. If this is going to be nothing more than a number crunching exercise then it will be rightly labelled as a cynical ploy the purpose of which is to undermine the widespread opposition to these cuts.
“The minister has added to the confusion and his decisions have undermined the confidence of schools that are in the frontline in helping children from disadvantaged areas. Nothing he has said since announcing the review instils confidence that he will reverse the threatened cuts to DEIS schools.
“Yesterday’s large protest outside the Department of Education’s headquarters on Marlborough Street is a reminder to Minister Quinn and his government colleagues that this issue is not going to go away.
“It is clear the, even if the Minister reverses the cuts to DEIS schools, he is still determined to cut primary school services. This is unacceptable and Sinn Féin will stand behind those who are rightly appalled at what is happening. We will not accept anything less than the full reversal of the cuts to schools that were proposed in December’s budget.” ENDS
Note to editors: The debate can be accessed at: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2012/01/19/00017.asp