Fianna Fáil Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív has hit out at Fine Gael and Labour for persisting with sweeping cuts to further education that will result in the loss of up to 18 teachers at institutes of further education across Galway city and county.

The Galway West Deputy was speaking after Government TDs voted down a Fianna Fáil motion in the Dáil calling for the reversal of ‘highly regressive’ cuts to further education.  Deputy Ó Cuív said the cuts in funding for VECs and PLC colleges announced in Budget 2013, along with the cuts to training allowances and the Back to Education Allowance, will result in a significant reduction in student places on PLCs and in the number of courses available.

“As a result of Budget 2013, at least 9 whole time teaching posts will be cut at our colleges of further education in Galway.  These posts are mostly filled by part-time teachers, meaning that a total of up to 18 teachers will be lost here this year.  Dozens more will go in Mayo, Sligo, Donegal and across the Western region,” explained Deputy Calleary.

“Across the country, about 400 specialised PLC teachers will be dropped from the system as a result of these cuts.  There is no doubt that students here in Mayo, and across the country, will suffer as a result.

“The latest statistics show there are more than 22,000 people on the Live Register in Galway city and county, 3,285 of whom are under the age of 25. These people are desperately looking for opportunities in this country, and the specialised courses and training offered by our institutes of further education provide much needed opportunities.  It is grave mistake to persist with plans to water down this sector when little or nothing has been done to tackle the jobs crisis.

“Last week in the Dáil, Fine Gael and Labour Deputies had chance to show that they are in fact committed to supporting job-seekers and tackling educational disadvantage,. It is deeply disappointing that they refused to recognise the hugely damaging impact of these cuts and are persisting with measures that will have significant impact on students and job seekers into the future,” Deputy Ó Cuív said.