Fianna Fáil’s General Election candidate in Cork East, Cllr. Padraig O’Sullivan has said that while there were some changes in Budget 2019 regarding funding for primary and secondary schools, major problems persist in the education system.

Cllr. O’Sullivan was commenting after a 5% increase in the capitation payment per pupil was announced by the Minister for Finance in his budget speech. This was a key priority for Fianna Fáil during its negotiations with Fine Gael, and one which, when implemented, relieve some of the pressure schools are facing to meet basic costs such as light and heat.

“However, let’s be clear. It will take more than this 5% increase to repair the damage of seven years of Fine Gael and Labour underinvestment in our children and their education.

“Over the last number of years, parents have been pressurised to make so-called voluntary contributions to help with the running of the school. In reality, there is nothing voluntary about these payments, and a lot of public pressure was placed on children and parents to cough up.

“I am disappointed that greater support was not given to teaching-principals in smaller schools. The INTO was campaigning for a days’ support per week where teaching principals would be relieved of his or her duties to take care of school administration. This measure would have costed just €10 million per year and would have helped relieve the pressure principals.

“Fianna Fáil has had some influence in terms of budgetary policy arising from its Confidence and Supply arrangement with Fine Gael, but it’s not our preference. I want a Fianna Fáil led government with Micheál Martin as Taoiseach.

“When it comes to education, no one can question Micheál’s bona fides when it comes to investing in education and in our children.

“We will only deliver that by elected two Fianna Fáil TDs to represent Cork East at the next General Election whenever that takes place. That’s the challenge I am up for, and I am calling on likeminded people in Cork East to join the campaign to ensure the next budget is a Fianna Fáil budget,” concluded O’Sullivan.