Longford teacher cuts would “close rural Ireland forever”

The Government will close rural Ireland “forever” unless politicians join with teachers and parents in voicing their disquiet over ongoing education budget cuts.

The Government will close rural Ireland “forever” unless politicians join with teachers and parents in voicing their disquiet over ongoing education budget cuts.

Cllr Paul Connell made the claim in front of a packed public gallery at a recent meeting of Longford County Council amid fears teaching posts could be lost at three north Longford based schools.

The independent dual councillor was reacting less than 24 hours after local politicians met with concerned parents at Bunlahy National School.

Under recent budget changes affecting pupil-teacher ratio numbers, the school could be in line to lose one teacher in a move that could have similar implications for both Glen and Killasonna National Schools.

“This, I believe, is our last chance to save rural Ireland,” he said in typically downbeat fashion.

“We have to stand up as a local authority and we have to show this minister (for education, Ruairi Quinn) that rural Ireland is alive and well.”

Cllr Alan Mitchell, upon responding to a request from Cllr Victor Kiernan, vowed to write to Taoiseach Enda Kenny as he criticised the reasoning behind the proposed changes.

The Longford town solicitor, who is the present chairman of Co Longford Vocational Education Committee (VEC), described the cuts as too “arbitary”, a stance which was also shared by former St Mel’s principal, Cllr Denis Glennon.

For more on this story, see this week’s Longford Leader.