Class size dilemma
The revelation that the Department of Education is planning to increase class sizes because the Croke Park Agreement means that it cannot cut teachers' pay and conditions presents the trade unions with an dilemma.
Having opposed spending cuts on the grounds they would lead to increased class sizes, the department has now turned the tables on the trade unions. As one of the "big three" spending departments, any programme of public spending cuts that excluded the Department of Education wouldn't be worth the candle. With the Government pledged to cut public spending by €2.1bn in next December's Budget, education is going to have to share the pain, no matter what the teachers' trade unions say.
If cuts are inevitable then the challenge facing the Department of Education is to achieve savings in a manner that has the least impact on the education of our children.