Fianna Fáil has pledged to employ more teachers, reduce class sizes and will freeze third level fees in Government.  The party’s manifesto commits to prioritising education and will ensure that all children are given the best start in life by investing in a fair and equitable education system.

Spokesperson on Education & Skills Charlie McConalogue explained, “Ireland must systematically prioritise investment in education.  It is the cornerstone of our economic model, which is built on a highly skilled workforce, attracting investment and creating new business.

“The first place we want to start is with our overcrowded classes at primary level, which are at historic highs with 1 in 5 pupils being taught in classes of 30-40 pupils.  We will employ 5,500 new primary teachers and reduce class sizes to 23 on average. We will give small schools back confidence in their future, by restoring teachers to these schools which are pillars of rural communities

“All children have the right to a fair start – programmes like DEIS, which was brought in by previous Fianna Fáil Governments, have been extremely successful in improving education rates in disadvantaged areas.  We will expand the DEIS scheme, and put in better supports for traveller and newcomer children as well as restoring guidance counsellors to all schools, which will  broaden all students’ future education and career path choices.

“At third level, Fianna Fáil will reinstate maintenance grants for post grad education to remove the financial barriers which have arisen under Fine Gael and Labour. We will also freeze tuition fees, link the Student Maintenance Grant to inflation and double the Student Assistance Fund for those in financial distress.

“Ireland cannot afford another Fine Gael led government, where some are getting ahead but many are being left behind. Our country requires an ambitious strategy to restore and enhance the quality of our education system.

“As a party we have always understood the value of education and its importance to our future. In government we will continue to protect and progress our system of education, as we have always endeavoured to do”.