Primary Class Size Increase Will Further Disadvantage Children

Speaking following the Dail Debate on Education cuts yesterday, Green Party Councillor Malcolm Noonan has spoken of his outrage at the refusal of Education Minister, Batt O Keefe to reconsider the class size issue and other unfair measures delivered in the 2009 budget. He also expressed his disappointment that his own party is not taking a stronger stand on the issue at cabinet level.

‘Ireland now has the second highest primary class sizes in the OECD Countries and has seen overall spending on education as a percentage of GDP fall to well below the European average during the boom years. Primary education is already chronically under funded and these cuts will further disadvantage children and place increased pressure on school resources which are already at breaking point’, stated the Green Party Councillor.

Councillor Noonan spoke at a Green Party meeting last week about the education cuts and pointed out to Party Leader, John Gormley and other party members that any budgetary measures that directly affect children or marginalised groups are unacceptable.

‘I am disappointed that we have not exercised more leverage to have these measures reversed. It could be done within the framework of a supplementary budget in the new year and many of the proposals made by Deputy Paul Gogarty could achieve the same savings to the department without affecting vulnerable groups’, he said.

‘I also do not agree with the Education Minister’s assertion that teachers and parents are scaremongering, in fact I feel that the effects are being played down by Government. I find it very difficult to accept that a party such as ours that has put equal access to education as a central plank of our manifesto can stand over these cuts. While it is difficult to reconcile this with the positive change our Ministers are making in their respective Departments, I will continue to voice my dissatisfaction with the savagery of these cuts and their effects on the future of our children and this country’, concluded Cllr Noonan.