Donnelly Slams Under Investment in Education

Stephen Donnelly, Social Democrats TD for Wicklow and East Carlow has slammed Government under investment in education over the last four years. Speaking to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dail chamber on Wednesday, Donnelly asked why the government had increased the education budget by only €24 million (less than one fifth of 1% available). This amounts to less than 2% of the budget available and less than one fifth of 1% of the education budget. Speaking in Greystones today, Donnelly called for increased funding in education: ‘Only five days ago, a mother chained herself to the gates of the Department of Education and Science protesting at the closure of her son’s autism unit. In 2011, when this Government came into power, Ireland had two universities in the top 100 ranked globally. Today, we do not have one in the top 150. One university president described what this Government has done to the university sector as “asset stripping”, and the same can be said for what has happened to the primary and secondary education systems. ‘The Government’s continued under investment in education has led to a situation Irish classes are the largest in the Eurozone, with an average of 25 students per class. Almost 30% of primary school children in Wicklow are in classes of 30 or more. This is unacceptable. The Social Democrats proposed a budget using exactly the same fiscal space. Rather than investing €24 million, we were able to propose a €200 million investment. That is investment in education, our children and higher education. An investment in the future.’ ENDS