Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív is calling on the Education Minister to explain why she is refusing to publish the Value for Money Review into small schools. The study has been sitting in the Department for almost two years, but Minister Jan O’Sullivan has not committed to a publication date.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “I cannot understand why Minister O’Sullivan is refusing to publish this important report, and clarify the Governments position on small schools. The Government seem to be putting off this issue on the basis that they have not got the guts to make their own decision on this issue having considered the report. Galway and Mayo have a disproportionately high number of small schools, and the uncertainty surrounding the future of these schools is proving highly damaging.
“This Government has set about targeting small rural schools, by repeatedly cutting resources and increasing class sizes. This has forced the closure of some of these schools. Galway and Mayo have been particularly susceptible to these cuts, and now have the highest number of one-teacher schools in the country. Many of these schools are fearful that they too may be eradicated under this administration.
“This policy issue also has serious implications for the minority religions particularly the Church of Ireland as they have a large number of small schools throughout the country
“Minister O’Sullivan needs to publish this value for money report and end this uncertainty. She has been unable to explain the inordinate delay in publication, and claims that she is “not in a position to give a precise publication date at this time”. This is simply not good enough. Myself and my colleague Charlie McConalogue have been consistently calling on the Minister to make the findings of this report public, but have been stonewalled at every turn.
“Parents and students have a right to know whether there is a future for their school and it is unfair for the Minister to continue to draw out this process”.