Calleary alarmed at cuts to Mayo primary schools

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has expressed his alarm that 11
small schools in the county are to lose a teacher this September.  The decision was confirmed following a
parliamentary question to Minister Ruairi Quinn last week.  The number of schools in Mayo having a teacher
cut is substantially higher than any other county in the country.

Deputy Calleary commented, “This is yet another attack by this Government on
small schools, and more specifically small schools in Mayo.  Eleven small schools across the country will
see a teacher cut when the next school year begins.  These are schools with no more than four
teachers as it is, and will now be forced to do more with less.  This decision will not only create additional
stress for the teachers in these schools, it will also have a major impact on
the pupils and their quality of education.

“Ireland is widely recognised for producing excellent teaching graduates,
however, these teachers have been attacked year on year by Minister Ruairi
Quinn.  He has consistently allowed pupil
teacher ratios to rise, while at the same time, cutting teacher numbers in
small schools.  These decisions are
posing a major threat to the future of small schools in Mayo and have been
undertaken by a Dublin based Minister who appears to have no consideration for
the geography of the county, or any understanding of the importance of a school
in a rural community.

“30 small schools are to lose a teacher this September.  11 of these schools are in Mayo.  This is a clear indication that schools in
the West of Ireland are being disproportionately hit by these cuts.    The
Minister has also refused to give a date for the publication of the Value for
Money review, which could determine the future of these schools, despite the
fact that he has had the report on his desk since last year.  This issue was raised in the Dáil this week
during Education Questions, although Minister Quinn failed to appear in the
Chamber, choosing to substitute Junior Minister Cannon to answer on his behalf.

“Government TDs in Mayo have done nothing to try and stop this sustained assault
on small schools.  It’s time these
Deputies stood up for their constituents and their children and demand a stop
to these cuts”.