Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Brendan Smith TD has criticised the education cuts announced today, pointing out the fact that rural schools will bear a disproportionate cost.


He commented, “Today’s education cuts will overwhelmingly fall on rural schools.  The disadvantaged schools mentioned are inevitably those within rural schemes.  Rural teachers will have listened to the budget speech and be forgiven for concluding that the needs of rural communities did not enter the Minister’s thinking.


“All cuts in the primary pupil teacher ratio are being confined to schools of four teachers and fewer, the majority of which are found in rural areas and provincial towns.  At the same time, the only scheme which targets educational disadvantage in rural areas appears to have been singled out for the Minister’s axe.


“Additionally, the doubling of school transport charges applies only to rural areas.


“Even at third-level the anti-rural agenda is apparent.  The cuts in post-graduate grants involve removing the maintenance element of the grants.  This is something which rural students living away from home rely on more than any other group.


“This suburban Dublin attitude to Education is extremely disappointing, will be counter-productive and should be stopped.  The Minister should think again.”