Deputy Tim­mins slams Gov­ern­ment as ed­u­ca­tion falls un­der ‘Butcher’s’ knife

Bray People - - About Greystones -

DEPUTY Billy Tim­mins has ex­pressed his dis­may over 32 ed­u­ca­tion cuts in­cluded in the Bud­get but has saved most of his fire for what he de­scribes as the ‘Butcher’s dozen’ cuts.

Those 13 cuts in­clude a re­duc­tion in the school build­ing pro­gramme, col­lege regis­tra­tion fee hikes, re­stric­tions on em­ploy­ing sub teach­ers form Jan­uary and the sus­pen­sion of the early re­tire­ment scheme for teach­ers.

The fact that there will be 200 fewer pri­mary school teach­ers and 200 fewer sec­ond level teach­ers also ran­kles with Deputy Tim­mins.

A study car­ried out in Septem­ber showed that Ir­ish pri­mary schools had an av­er­age of 24.5 pupils per class, the sec­ond high­est of the EU coun­tries sur­veyed.

Ac­cord­ing to Deputy Tim­mins, ‘At the last gen­eral elec­tion the Gov­ern­ment gave a com­mit­ment that they would re­duce the pupil to teacher ra­tio. They have done noth­ing of the kind and now we see the num­bers of pupils per teach­ers will ac­tu­ally go up.

‘A ¤600 in­crease for col­lege regis­tra­tion fees is just ba­si­cally a back­door fee and the re­stric­tion to be placed on the em­ploy­ment of sub teach­ers from Jan­uary 209 will have a ma­jor im­pact on all classes.’

Most com­men­ta­tors have fo­cused on the whole med­i­cal card fi­asco, with Fi­nance Min­is­ter Brian Leni­han claim­ing Health Min­is­ter Mary Har­ney was re­spon­si­ble for the de­ba­cle.

Deputy Tim­mins de­scribes the de­ci­sion to abol­ish free med­i­cal cards for thou­sands of pen­sion­ers as ‘ou­tra­geous’and says the Gov­ern­ment seem ‘con­fused’ over the lim­its in­volved in any fi­nan­cial as­sess­ment.

He also re­mains highly crit­i­cal about the bud­get hit­ting work­ers with a 1 per cent in­come levy. ‘It ap­plies to all peo­ple, re­gard­less of their in­come. If the Gov­ern­ment are that des­per­ate for money then they should have given an ex­emp­tion to peo­ple earn­ing be­low ¤40,000 and maybe in­creased the in­come level to 2 per cent for those in the high in­come bracket.’

Mean­while, he has also voiced his dis­may at the in­def­i­nite de­fer­ral of road im­prove­ment works on the N11 from the Bee­hive pub to the Ark­low by-pass.

‘I ac­cept that pri­or­i­ties have to es­tab­lished at a time of eco­nomic strin­gency, but surely one of the most haz­ardous stretches of road in the en­tire coun­try should be close to the top of such a list.

‘Lo­cal res­i­dents, com­muters and tourists are all too aware of the dan­gers posed to life and limb by this stretch of road.‘

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