[Sinn Fein]

5th February 2003

Ó Caoláin expresses the anger of parents and teachers over damp rat-infested  schools

Speaking during Taoiseach's Questions Sinn Fein spokesperson on Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach if he was ``aware that just before the last General Election the then Minister for Education published a partial list of schools with partial information, leading many people to believe that the essential works on their schools would be carried out last year or this year.''

The Cavan/Monahgan Deputy put it to the Taoiseach that now that the current Minister for Education had published the real list ``there is anger and a sense of betrayal among parents, pupils, teachers and boards of management throughout this State.

``Hundreds of schools have been told that they will not be given the go-ahead to proceed with essential refurbishment or rebuilding of schools, many of which are in a deplorable state. What has the Taoiseach to say to teachers trying to teach and young children trying to learn in schools that are damp, rat-infested or overcrowded?'', he asked.

Drawing attention to the demonstration by third level students in Dublin today Deputy Ó Caoláin said that there was ``little improvement in the numbers of students from disadvantaged areas gaining access to third level. And there is real concern that it is the Government's intention to reintroduce fees at third level.

``There is a need for sustained and increased investment in providing access to education'', he said.

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