Fianna Fáil has called on the government to protect frontline education services in the upcoming Budget.
The party’s Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has expressed concern about reports that the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn may increase class sizes in order to achieve savings in his department next year.
“Minister Quinn made an inexcusable mistake in targeting children with special needs for significant cuts this coming school year. Having been forced into a u-turn on the resource hours cuts, it now seems that he is attempting to cover one mistake with another,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“We now have a situation where not only has Minister Quinn undermined special education by continuing to limit Special Needs Assistants and effectively reducing SNA services from September, he is now targeting the wider school system.
“The answer to the country’s economic difficulties is certainly not to target schools for cuts. Increasing class sizes is a retrograde step and sends the wrong message about how much we value education in this country. It’s an extremely short-sighted move that may produce an instant saving, but will undermine our education system in the long-run.
“This government faces a series of choices in the upcoming Budget. It can choose to protect frontline education services and protect supports for children with special needs. It can choose a fairer way to recovery that invests in our young people. Fianna Fáil’s alternative budget for this year protected spending in education. I am urging the government to make the right decision this year and not to target schools for cuts.”