The Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has refused to back down on his decision to exclude 76% of schools from the new school book rental initiative.

Answering questions from the Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue in the Dáil, Minister Quinn confirmed that none of the new funding whatsoever will be available to schools that have any type of school book rental scheme, regardless of how under resourced it is.

“The Minister is punishing schools that took the initiative to establish a book rental scheme at great expense to parents, teachers and school management,” said Deputy McConalogue.

“He has made no attempt to assess the need of individual schools. He does not seem to care whether the existing schemes are in any way adequate. He is ignoring the fact that while many schools technically have a book rental scheme, the scheme is only in its infant stages, is significantly under resourced and is not available to all students in all subjects.

“When this initiative was announced, Minister Quinn gave the impression that all schools would be eligible for funding to ensure they have an adequate and functional book rental scheme. It’s now become clear that 76% of schools won’t see a cent. The Minister is leaving these schools – and their pupils – out to dry.

“What kind of message does it send out to schools and parents who take the initiative to improve the facilities for students off their own bat? Minister Quinn’s actions will discourage such initiative by our schools in the future.”