Schools in deprived areas are about to be devastated in the most savage cuts witnessed in Irish schools. The budget proposes that hundreds of teaching posts are to be slashed. Class sizes in disadvantaged areas are to rise to 22 pupils, teaching posts attached to schemes tackling disadvantage are cut and resource/learning support teachers are to be cut from one for every 80 pupils to one for 110 pupils.
"Children in deprived areas already face huge obstacles in education. Speech and language skills, literacy and numeracy are some examples. What has also to be considered is the unequal way austerity measures are implemented already hitting poor areas hardest of all. For example the children of lone parents have been singled out for harsh cuts in this budget. The total effect of all of this will wreak destruction on both communities and children’s lives for decades to come," Michael explains.
"Clearly the children of the poor are easy targets for sacrifice, their interests abandoned, their futures of no consequence," Michael points out and demands that the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald ‘account for herself'.
"What is the point of having a Ministry for Children – just whose children does she represent? Certainly not those of deprived areas in this constituency. In light of these cuts a Minister for Children is mere window dressing and a cover for the reality of austerity measures which savages the rights and lives of poor children."
Michael further challenges all four T.D.s – all government deputies. Do Deputies Keating, Fine Gael, Tuffy and Dowds, Labour Party all agree with these measures? It is time for Labour deputies in particular to stop allowing themselves be the whipping boy for an extremely right wing Fine Gael government. They must now declare themselves – their silence means they agree with grossly unequal austerity measures favouring the wealthy.
Issued: 15th Dec 2011