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We have to trim fat but minister will find lean pickings at schools

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Education Minister Ruairi Quinn is asking a lot from
busy parents

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn is asking a lot from busy parents

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn is asking a lot from busy parents

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has asked what parents are doing about the fact that their children are being educated in dilapidated schools. The answer is simple.

When they aren't busy trying to keep up with mortgage repayments; hold on to or seek jobs; feed their children; act as underpaid carers to elderly or disabled family members; find the money for car tax, refuse collection and future house and water charges, they are bag-packing, organising cake sales, sponsored walks, fundraising concerts, etc to keep schools, hospitals and myriad state services running!

We all know that bankers and developers have left this country broke but blaming ordinary folk for not shouldering even more of the burden is a step too far.

Free education in this country is a myth. Each year schools are forced to send home begging envelopes with students seeking fees to supplement schools' capitation grants.

In addition to paying for heating, photocopying and postage, parents must find the money for transport, uniforms, books and stationery and I know of no school which has built any form of extension without a large injection of cash from fundraising.

In a recession one might have to trim fat but given our existing spend on education, near the bottom of OECD tables, the minister will find lean pickings indeed on the education skeleton.

What next? Will we have the health minister asking what patients' families are doing about the overcrowding in A&E or the waiting lists?'.

Recalling how much money we have given to reckless banks makes one wonder how many crumbling pre-fabs could have been replaced for a tiny fraction of Ireland's largesse to foreign gamblers.

G Harrison
Killanley, Co Mayo

Irish Independent