The Donegal Democrat has learned that at least thirty teaching posts mainly in small, rural and DEIS schools are to be lost in the county this year with more expected over the next three years.
The Minister for Education & Skills Ruairí Quinn yesterday revealed that primary schools across the county will lose a significant number of teaching posts from September in response to a parliamentary question by Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill.
Commented Ó Domhnaill: “The cuts to small schools and disadvantaged rural schools this year are just further evidence of this Government’s anti-rural agenda.
“Following a series of questions, Ruairí Quinn has confirmed that at least nine Primary Schools in Donegal will lose a teacher from September amounting to at least 30 teaching posts. In addition to this, all 101 of Donegal’s primary schools face staff losses and larger classes in September.
Fr. John Joe Duffy of Arranmore Island and Rev. John Deane from Ardara have been to the forefront of the national campaign to protect rural and minority schools and are holding a large protest march on Saturday next in Letterkenny. Speaking to this newspaper last evening, Fr. Duffy said, “This announcement only confirms what Rev. Deane and I predicted in the Democrat nearly two weeks ago and will be borne out by the large demonstration on Saturday which will be led by parents, children and teachers where the President of the INTO will be present.
“Up on 30 posts are due to go but this is only the start of it - had the pupil/teacher ratio been preserved more jobs would have been created. The schools losing a teacher this September are: Scoil Náisiánta Gort an Choirce, Scoil Náisiánta Arainn Mhár, Scoil Náisiánta Loch an Iubhair, Scoil Chonaill, Bun Beag, Scoil Naisunta, na hAcrai, Scoil Cholmcille, Malin, Scoil Náisúnta Umlach, Carraig Airt and Ayr Hill NS, Ramelton.
In a separate issue Fr. Seán O’Gallachóir of Gorthahork NS revealed that as well as losing a post, they had been informed that they had been turned down for funding for their new school which had been promised in 2003 and told that no funds were available to address the problems in the old school which pose major health and safety problems.