Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne TD has said that Fianna Fáil will restore geography to the core Junior Certificate curriculum if the party are in Government after the next General Election.

Deputy Byrne was speaking as thousands of school children took part in protests across the country against a lack of action on climate change and said, “Today we see hundreds of children protest, both outside Leinster House, and in their own schools across the country, against the lack of Government action in tackling climate change.

“Through geography, among many other issues, we learn to understand climate change along with its causes and impacts and its importance cannot be denigrated. I have met with Geography teachers and I have spoken to academics who have serious reservations about the demotion of the subject.

“The Association of Geography Teachers of Ireland have created a petition, calling for the restoration of Geography as a core subject on the Junior Cycle curriculum and already have over five thousand signatures. There is great support out there for the restoration of these key subjects.

“The Fianna Fáil Party has already committed to restoring history as a core junior cert cycle subject, regardless of the review which Minister McHugh has commissioned. We believe the junior cycle reforms were devastating for history and geography and only served to denigrate the subjects.

“While history gives students a good grounding in the past, both ancient and recent, and teaches them to recognise bias and prejudice, geography provides them with knowledge of their environmental surrounds, the devastating impact of climate change and practical skills, such as map reading and weather forecasting. Both subjects are still as relevant today as they’ve ever been and must be restored”, concluded Deputy Byrne.