Fianna Fáil Education Spokesman Thomas Byrne TD has said today’s Budget 2019 announcement goes little or no way towards transforming the quality of our country’s education system.

He said, “For the most part, Budget 2019 looks likely to change very little of the poor status quo in education. It’s somewhat disingenuous to announce “additional” teachers and Special Needs Assistants considering these additions will just about keep in line with our rapidly growing young population.

“This will do nothing to reduce the pupil teacher ratio in our primary or secondary schools, tackle the challenges created by rising numbers attending third level or address ongoing underfunding in the education sector as a whole.

“Almost a decade of sustained under-funding in schools across the country has left them struggling to make ends meet, with some even forced into debt. Today’s announced increase in the capitation grant, albeit modest, represents a step towards alleviating the dependency on voluntary contributions from parents.

“Though this increase met a significant level of resistance at Cabinet that was difficult to comprehend, it remained a priority for our party throughout Budget negotiations.

“The overarching lack of vision and lack of political will to modernise our education system is demoralising to so many working in the sector.

“If adequately supported, the provision of education across the board can and should be of the highest quality. That support simply does not feature in Budget 2019,” he concluded.