Cork South Central Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath has said the refusal of the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn TD to step in and support the Cork Life Centre is a cruel blow to those relying on the services it provides.
Deputy McGrath raised the plight of the Cork Life Centre in the Dáil with the Minister for Education. In his response, the Minister reiterated his refusal to provide additional support to the Centre to prevent it from closing in the coming months.
Deputy McGrath stated, “The Cork Life Centre is providing a tremendous service to many teenagers who, for one reason or another, are not being catered for in the mainstream education system. The centre is currently offering educational training to 40 young people between the ages of 12 and 18, all of whom have left mainstream education and who can pursue Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations with one-on-one tuition in subjects provided by a small number of full-time staff and hordes of volunteers.
“Having met with the Director of the Centre and some of the parents of children attending there, I have been most impressed with the story they have to tell. I know that the Centre is in a very precarious financial position given the ending of financial support from the Christian Brothers and it is now a very real prospect that the Centre will have to close as a result.
“Even at this late stage, I believe the Minister for Education should review this decision. It seems that certain that, if the Centre is to close, the cost to the State of meeting the educational needs of these children will be multiples of what it is today. Time is quickly running out and the Minister needs to commit to supporting the Cork Life Centre so that its future can be secured.”