[Sinn Fein]

24th June 2003

Government throws hundreds of teachers on the scrap heap

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Education and Science Seán Crowe, speaking in Leinster House this afternoon, called for an emergency debate on the decision of the Department of Education to axe 300 concessionary teaching posts and the impact this will have on the Government's education policy.

The Dublin South-West TD said: ``The Government claims it intends to improve access to education and reduce class sizes and then, in a complete contradiction of Government policy, it announces that hundreds of teachers are to be thrown on the scrap heap. These latest cutbacks demonstrate once again the determination of this Government to balance the books by cutting vital public services instead of increasing revenue through a tax system that genuinely redistributes the wealth in Irish society.

``Many of these teachers are involved in minority subjects where we are trying to stimulate interest or in teaching children with special needs. Ironically while the Special Olympics are going on, the Government is targeting those with special needs again. Today it's secondary education targeted for cuts. Tomorrow it could be child benefit, CE schemes or community investment. Increasingly Irish people are asking themselves if there is anything this Government won't cut.'' ENDS

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