Taoiseach defends education cuts

 

SUPPORTS FOR disadvantaged schools are still in place, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted, while conceding 428 teaching posts will be lost over three years.

Mr Kenny was responding in the Dáil to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who said school principals believed the cuts would “devastate disadvantaged schools”.

Mr Martin said a letter by Cork principals highlighted the improvements in schools involved in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (Deis) programme, where pupils had “flourished emotionally and developmentally”.

He described Labour as ‘shameful’ for overseeing the cuts. “The Government has made the wrong choices. Those on the lowest rung of the ladder and the most disadvantaged will suffer.”

Mr Kenny said choices had to be made because of the need for €3.8 billion in taxes and cuts, but changes in disadvantaged schools would take place over three years.

“Some alleviation measures will be possible. Some legacy posts will be phased out over three years but no one school will be disadvantaged as a consequence.”

He said Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn met principals yesterday and said there would be alleviation measures for schools most affected. The Government’s protection of disadvantaged schools was underlined by the maintenance of €13 million in enhanced funding, €2 million for school books and €26 million for home-school community liaison.