FF vow to protect future of Mayo’s small schools

Charlie Speaking Dara speaking Main group Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3A very large crowd attended a public meeting in Bangor Erris on Thursday night on the need to protect small schools that are under threat of closure.

The meeting was the first in a series of meetings as part of the Fianna Fáil ‘Save Our Schools’ campaign.

The party’s Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue was joined by Mayo TD Dara Calleary, other local representatives, and members of the Erris Save our Schools Committee for the meeting in The Talk of the Town, Bangor Erris, which was hosted by the local Fianna Fáil organisation and chaired by John Cosgrove.

Deputy McConalogue said many communities across the West of Ireland are becoming increasingly fearful about the future of their local schools.

“According to the latest leaks from Minister Ruairí Quinn’s department, up to 1,000 primary schools with less than 80 pupils are under threat of closure or forced amalgamation. That’s nearly a third of the entire primary school population.

This is an extremely serious situation and people are becoming increasingly worried about the impact it could have on families and on community life,” Deputy McConlogue said.

Deputy Dara Calleary who extended an invitation to all primary schools in Mayo to attend the meeting said “here in Mayo, we know that the local school contributes far more to the community than what goes on in the classroom. Schools are the heart of community life. They are considered a vital local service. And the impact of taking the local school from an area would be profound.

“I know people are extremely worried about what’s coming down the line. This meeting is about giving parents, teachers and any members of the community the opportunity to voice those concerns about this important issue.”

As well as a very forthright debate in relation to pupil/teacher ratios, the meeting also discussed cuts to the Capitation Grant, Minor Works Scheme and Summer Works Scheme and heard contributions from Brendan Deane of the Erris Save our Schools Committee and Mr. Tom Byrne, Principal of Partry National Schools among many others.

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