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Erris parents accuse Taoiseach of abandoning rural schools

Eachléim parents accuse Taoiseach of abandoning rural schools

Anton McNulty

Forty sets of parents from a primary school on the tip of the Mullet peninsula have signed a letter accusing the Taoiseach of abandoning rural disadvantaged primary school.
Scoil Bhreandáin is one of four primary schools in Mayo destined to lose a teacher in September after the withdrawal of its concessionary post and fear the loss of another permanent post in 2015. With the future of the Gaeltacht school uncertain, parents of pupils signed the letter which accused the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the three other government TD’s in Mayo of not standing up for rural schools.
In the letter entitled ‘A Cry from the Periphery’, they highlight the fact that following pressure from Labour TDs, 140 concessionary posts - the majority in DEIS urban schools - were saved  but there was a ‘blanket cut’ on the remaining 16 posts in rural areas.
They described the cuts as ‘cruel injustice’ given the disadvantage status of the Gaeltacht area with levels of male unemployment at 60 per cent, female unemployment of 58 per cent, 80 per cent without third level education and 29 per cent with only Primary education. They criticised Mr Kenny for choosing to ignore ‘some of the frightening statistics’ in his ‘home county’.
“How significant is this from a rural based Taoiseach?” asked the parents. “Perhaps he felt our story would fade into oblivion. The loss of this concessionary teacher at one of the most difficult times our economy has ever faced is going to add to the level of disadvantage that children in peripheral rural communities already face.
“In addition, our school lost a permanent post in 2011 through the abolition of the DEIS rural co-ordinator and will lose another permanent post in 2015. In total, our school will lose 66 per cent of its teaching staff in 48 months when GAM [General Allocation Model] hours are factored in!”
The parents also quoted the line, ‘An gaoth aduaidh bíonn sé cruaidh’ to illustrate the hardship which will be felt by pupils as a result of the cuts and the lack of help they are getting from their public representatives.
“Unfortunately, our own Govt. T.Ds Enda Kenny, Michael Ring, John O’Mahony and Michelle Mulherin are now helping a fierce northerly wind in 2012. Iarann muid orthu an fód a sheasamh do mhuintir na tuaithe agus a mhuintir féin. Remember all children should be cherished equally no matter of their address.”
The letter was signed by Maireád and Seán Ó Ceannainn; Maireád and Liam Ó Rudaigh; Vera and Antaine Mac Aitigín; Áine Máire and Michéal Ó Rúáin; Deirdre and Gearóid Ó Maolabhaill; Julie and Seán Ó Maolabhaill; Máire and Mártan Ó Raghallaigh; Caitríona agus Eoin Ó Monacháin; Jennifer Nic Gintí; Valerie Ní Mhonacháin and Mártan Mac An Tsaoir; Máire and Anraí Ó Raghallaigh; Dolore and Seán Ó Maolabhaill; Michelle and Lionárd Mac Giollabháird; Áine Ní Lionscaigh and Diarmaid Mac Mathúna; Valerie and Tomás Ó Catháin; Nicole Nic Goireachtaigh; Bríd and Seán Ó Rúáin; Yvonne and Michaél Ó Catháin; Áine and Aodán Mac Aindriú; Shannon and Gearóid Ó Muirithe; Sandra and Daibdhe Mac An Tsaoir; Rebecca and Gearóid Ó Muirithe; Linda and Wesley Ó Talbóid; Treasa and Gearóid Ó Muirithe; Erin and Iarlaith Ó Catháin; Eibhlín and Seán Ó Cuideagáin; Eilís and Seán Mac Páidín; Seosaimhín and Séamus de Long; Máire and Ciarán Ó Murchú; Fiona and Pádraig Ó Monacháin; Treasa and Éamonn Ó Fallúin; Eibhlín and Peader Ó Catháin; Atty and Nollaig Ó Gacháin; Celia and Liam Ó Domhnaill; Aingeal and Tomás Ó Siúlaí; Ciarraí and Micheál Mac Éil; Caroline Ní Mhonacháin and Breandán Mac Goireachtaigh; Leah and Micheál Mac Goireachtaigh; Odron and Proinsias Mac Amhlaoibh; Donna Nic Ultaigh and Séan Mac Goireachtaigh.

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