Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon O Cuív has called on the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh TD, to once again reinstate fully the pre-2012 pupil teacher ratio in two, three and four teacher primary schools, to the level it was at up until 2012.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “In a mean targeted cut against rural Ireland in 2012, the then Government cut the pupil teacher ratio in small schools dramatically, thus leaving some three teacher schools with only two teachers and what were four teacher schools with only three teachers, and in some extreme cases reducing what were sustainable two teacher schools to one teacher.

“This was typical and is typical of the attitude of the Government to rural Ireland, where basic services are being undermined all the time, while cosmetic schemes are introduced in the name of rural development.

“One of the most fundamental things in any rural community is their primary school and Irish rural society is very attached to the primary school being retained within the community and is generally resistant to large scale amalgamation of schools.

“These mean cuts should be reversed in total and our two, three and four teacher primary schools should be sustained. This would ensure that in all schools over ten pupils that there would be two classroom teachers in them without any re-conditions.

“I would hope that Minister McHugh, who himself comes from a county with many small schools, would reverse the regressive policy of the previous Government in this regard. I will continue to press that he will reverse the policies in the forthcoming budget next autumn,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.