Smith calls on Government to protect small rural schools

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Brendan Smith TD, has called on the Government to protect the future of small rural schools.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Brendan Smith TD, has called on the Government to protect the future of small rural schools.

Speaking during a Technical Group Private Members’ Motion on small and rural schools, Deputy Smith said these schools throughout the country are under threat because of savage Government cutbacks. Deputy Smith commented: “The appalling decision by this Government to introduce staffing cuts in small schools with fewer than five teachers will result in many communities losing its very lifeblood. In January, I moved a Private Members’ Motion on behalf of Fianna Fáil outlining very clearly the need to protect small schools and the need for the Government to reverse the disastrous decision to introduce these new discriminatory staffing schedules.”

He continued: “A wide population dispersal may be a contributory factor but it doesn’t hide the fact that the primary school is a focal point of the local community. Taking away the school takes away the community’s heart and future. The changes by the Government are blunt in nature and these forced cuts are based on numbers alone without any consideration for the school’s ethos or the impact it has on the local community.

Mr Smith concluded by saying: “Minister Ruairí Quinn needs to urgently review this decision, as the very viability of some local communities will be under threat if schools close.”