15 November 2008

More Protests against Education Budget Cuts

More than 4000 teachers protested against cuts in the education sector in Tullamore, Co. Offaly (home county of Taoiseach Brian Cowen) this afternoon.

According to he Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), which represents primary school teachers in Ireland, many teachers and parents from counties Offaly, Laois, North Tipperary and Kilkenny took part.

One of the organisers said that Fine Gael TD Olwyn Enright (right) was the only national politician who was willing to speak at this demonstration, which marched through Tullamore to O'Connor Square, where the speeches were given.
Parents, principals, and representatives of boards of management were among the speakers addressing the protest meeting.

The education cuts were also raised at the annual conference of the National Parents Council for primary schools in Athlone, Co. Westmeath this weekend.

Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe (left) was listed in the conference agenda to open proceedings this morning.
But cowardly as the government is these days, he backed out at the last moment and did not address the meeting. This led to strong expressions of anger and disgust from delegates.

Elsewhere, a protest against the suspension of the cervical cancer vaccination programme has taken place in Dublin. That rally was organised by the Feminist Open Forum, and it is expected that more protests will follow.

Meanwhile there is utter silence from the government, and especially from Batt O'Keeffe. When he was appointed by the new Taoiseach Brian Cowen as Minister for Education in the Cabinet reshuffle in May, there were some hopes for improvement in the Department, since O'Keeffe is himself a former teacher. But as it turns out, he is one the most arrogant and ignorant holders of this post in years and a complete poodle to Brian Cowen. And - as he has shown today - he is the same kind of coward as his master.

By law and by right TDs and ministers are accountable to those who elect them - the people of Ireland. But ever since the disastrous introduction of the 2009 Budget on October 14th (see my entry of that day) almost the whole Cabinet has gone into hiding and refuses to face the facts and the people.

How on Earth can they ever again expect our trust and votes...?

The Emerald Islander

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