Fianna Fáil Kerry Senator Mark Daly has hit out at Fine Gael and Labour for persisting with sweeping cuts to further education that will result in the loss of around 8 teachers at institutes of further education across Kerry.
Senator Daly was commenting after Government TDs voted down a Fianna Fáil motion in the Dáil calling for a reversal of the ‘highly regressive’ cuts to further education. According to Senator Daly, the cuts in funding for VECs and PLC colleges announced in Budget 2013, along with the cuts to training allowances and the Back to Education Allowance will result in a significant reduction in student places on PLCs and in the number of courses available.
“As a result of Budget 2013, 4 whole time teaching posts will be cut at colleges of further education in Kerry. These posts are mostly filled by part-time teachers, so it is likely that around 8 teachers could be lost across Kerry,” explained Senator Daly.
“Across the country, about 400 specialised PLC teachers will be dropped from the system as a result of these cuts. There is no doubt that students here in Kerry and across the country will suffer as a result.
“The latest statistics show there are 16,322 people on the Live Register in Kerry, 2,327 of whom are under the age of 25. These people are looking for work opportunities at home, and the specialised courses and training offered by our institutes of further education provide much needed opportunities. It is a grave mistake to persist with plans to water down this sector when little or nothing has been done to tackle the jobs crisis.
“Last week in the Dáil, Fine Gael and Labour Deputies had chance to show that they are in fact committed to supporting job-seekers and tackling educational disadvantage. It is deeply disappointing that they refused to recognise the hugely damaging impact of their decision and are persisting with measures that will have a significant impact on students and job seekers into the future,” Senator Daly said.