Local Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming has said the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn should apologise for insulting workers in Kildare involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of school uniforms for primary and secondary schools.
Minister Quinn recently told the Dáil that “uniforms are not manufactured in this country.”
Deputy Fleming said: “This morning I visited Arthur’s Court in Monasterevin which manufactures jumpers and provide trousers and skirts also manufactured in Ireland for primary and secondary school uniforms. This is an Irish business set-up in 1989 which now has three shops in Kildare, Kilkenny and Tipperary. They also distribute their products to other shops around the country and are of high quality – much more so than imported material – and are competitively priced.
“There are other factories manufacturing school uniforms in locally also in Monasterevin and Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.
“Minister Quinn is wrong when he said there was no manufacturing of school uniforms in Ireland and effectively that people should be buying the cheapest imported products they can get because it won’t affect Irish jobs. What planet is the Labour Party on?
“This is an industry we should be looking to grow not discourage and belittle. The cost of school uniforms is a major issue for families, particularly at this time of year, but the Minister has sought to wash his hands of the problem instead of taking a proactive and engaged role in the issue.
“The loyal customers and workers who benefit from Irish manufacturers deserve better from Labour Ministers in Government who should be supporting Irish jobs businesses.”