Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader Éamon Ó Cuív and Galway East TD Michael Kitt will address a public meeting in Co Galway tonight about the closure of small rural schools across Ireland. The meeting takes place in Gullane’s Ballinasloe at 8.30pm tonight.
Speaking beforehand Deputy Ó Cuív said: “Small communities right across the country are deeply concerned about this Government’s plans to increase class sizes in smaller schools and amalgamate rural schools. There is no doubt that this will lead to many communities in the West and across the country losing their local school.
“It is becoming quite clear that parents and teachers in small schools here in Co Galway and around the country will not put up with such unfair treatment. I fully support their campaign to keep class sizes at current levels – levels that have proved successful in significantly improving literacy and numeracy standards. Schools are at the heart of so many communities and losing them would have an enormous social impact on rural areas. Fianna Fáil is again condemning these unfair cuts and appealing to the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to reconsider,” Deputy Ó Cuív concluded.
Galway East Fianna Fáil TD Michael Kitt said, “The reality is that the Government has singled out smaller schools and disadvantaged schools for the bulk of the education cuts in Budget 2012. The result is the schools that are already marginalised face losing a significant number of teachers from September on. While people accept that the Government needs to make significant savings this year, they cannot understand why small rural communities and disadvantaged communities are being asked by Fine Gael and Labour to bear a disproportionate burden.
“Research shows the benefits of smaller classes particularly for very young children. For this Government to increase class sizes in smaller schools from September will have enormous impact on their learning environment and long-term implications for the younger generation.
“I strongly urge anyone who is concerned about the future of smaller schools in Co Galway to come along to the meeting tonight and air their concerns,” said Deputy Kitt.