Social Democrats TD spokesperson for education, Gary Gannon TD says that Budget 2021 has not addressed the legacy of chronic underfunding in Education, shown in stark relief through Covid19.

Deputy Gannon said:

“There will be much talk about welcoming news of Budget 2021, but there remain crucial systemic issues in each area.

“There are new supports for children with disabilities through the hiring of additional SNAs and 403 special education teachers, yet there is no mention of a dedicated Cost of Disability. There is a universal grant for full time third level students, yet there is no mention of a reduction in the student contribution fee. The hot meal programme will be extended to include an additional 35,000 children, yet the minimum wage is going up by just 10c per hour and families in receipt of social welfare only gaining a €2 increase per week for children under 12.

“Latest OCED figures showed that Ireland’s expenditure on second level education is the lowest of 36 EU countries and our primary school classroom sizes were the highest in Europe. The Budget needed to address not only COVID but the results of chronic underfunding for years.

“The devil is in the detail and we await much more detail from the budget, in particular for schools and the live event sector.

“Today, we know that this budget does not go far enough to address the systemic issues of poverty faced by too many individuals and families in our state. Nor does it attempt to address underfunding in our education system.

“Budget 2021 is aimed at addressing the problems arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, and not at fixing the many issues that existed pre-Covid-19. These pre-existing issues exacerbated problems when the virus struck, and it will be these issues that will go on existing during the lifetime of this budget.

“While we might welcome parts of it, we deserve so much more.”

13th October 2020

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