Friday, March 13, 2009

INTO must convince public that strike is in defence of Education, not merely about Pension Levy

Today's INTO announcement of a one-day strike planned for March 30th is an unsurprising development because of the depth of feeling aroused by the recent education cuts and the pension levy.

However it is essential, in this era of exploding unemployment, that the INTO convince the Irish people that this strike is not merely about the unfairness of the pension levy, but rather about the future of education at primary level and against the cuts that will act as a life sentence for so many children.

Pain is to be felt across the board, and it is true that many teachers have job security incomparable in the private sector. It is imperative that the INTO leadership focus on the hurt caused to children by cuts in book grants, increase in class sizes, cuts in traveller grants, disadvantage grants, special education and the postponement of the EPSEN Act .

As so many workers are struggling to keep their families together, this cannot descend into a public-private sector spat. If this strike action is in relation to cuts in education across the board then it will be supported, If the focus is purely on the pension levy, then the INTO risk arousing little public sympathy for their efforts.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Gogarty Should Resign as Education Committee Chairman

The resignation of Paul Gogarty as Education Spokesperson is a meaningless gesture. As a government TD, the position of Education Spokesperson for the Green Party was a pointless position. His chairmanship of the Oireachtas Education Committee is another matter.

If Paul Gogarty feels that strongly about the savage cuts in education, which deliberately target the most vulnerable in our society, then he should put his money where his mouth is and resign this position which comes with generous salary top-up and expenses.

The time for meaningless stances is over. The time to defend education has arrived. If Gogarty really cared about class sizes, traveller education, disadvantaged education, the HSCL scheme, book grants, language support or the other measures that have been cut by this uncaring administration then not only would he resign from his chairmanship, he would resign from government completely.

It is clear that empty gestures are all that the Green Party are reduced to.