Fianna Fáil Cllr Michael Smith is calling on the Tipperary government TDs and Senators to clarify their stance on the Education Minister’s attack on small rural schools.
Cllr Smith was speaking after Galway Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames last week described the policy as ‘social engineering of the worst kind’ and said Education Minister Ruairí Quinn is ‘ripping at the structures of rural life’.
“It is a relief to hear that there are serious concerns within the Government about Minister Quinn’s attack on small rural and minority faith schools,” said Cllr Smith. “Senator Healy Eames has described the policy as a ‘bolt out of the blue in Budget 2012’ and has condemned the fact that schools were given no notice whatsoever and were not consulted.
“The question now is, do Senator Healy Eames’ colleagues in Co Tipperary share her objections to this policy? Tipperary is in a particularly bad position, with many schools in the county facing staff cuts over the next three years. Thousands of parents and teachers have taken to the streets to protest against the cuts facing rural schools, and Church of Ireland schools in Tipperary. They must listen to the serious concerns of their constituents and recognise the extensive damage to a community of losing its local school.
“There is no doubt that Minister Quinn’s policy will force school amalgamations and closures in Co Tipperary in the long-run. I have had concerns for some time that the Minister is on a solo-run with this. I am appealing to the government TDs and Senators in Tipperary to stand up for the communities they represent and challenge Minister Quinn’s attack on rural schools.”