Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD has criticised the Government for its failure to advance key education measures before the Dáil summer recess.
Deputy Byrne made the comments after it was confirmed that neither the Technological Universities Bill nor the School Admissions Bill will be enacted prior to the summer recess.
Deputy Byrne said, “The slow pace of reform by the Government when it comes to education is deeply disappointing. Both the Technological University Bill and the School Admissions Bill are highly important and need to be enacted by the Oireachtas as soon as possible. Fianna Fáil indicated that we would facilitate the passage of these two Bills prior to the summer recess, but the Government was incapable of progressing them in a timely manner.
“The Taoiseach has insisted that the drop in legislative output is as a result of the current configuration of the Dáil. However in this instance there is a clear cross-party desire to progress two important Bills but the Government has simply refused to act on the issue. The end result is that the uncertainty in the education sector will persist for yet another summer.
“The Government needs to get its act together on education matters. There has been much talk about new reforms, but the Government hasn’t actually delivered on these when presented with the opportunity to do so.
“It’s also noteworthy that the religious criteria for schools admission are not dealt with in the Schools Admissions Bill. This is a third important piece of legislation which has not been dealt with as a result of Government indecision.
“I want to reiterate that Fianna Fáil is willing to support the passage of the Technological Universities Bill, subject to the passage of key amendments which Minister Bruton has already committed to accepting.
“Fianna Fáil has also indicated support for the School Admissions Bill after securing a breakthrough in regards the provision of special classes in schools. However it’s noteworthy that the religious criteria for school admissions are not dealt with in this Bill and will have to be dealt with elsewhere as a result. Accordingly this is a third important piece of legislation which has not been dealt with as a result of Government indecision,” concluded Deputy Byrne.