Government claims on education disguise reality – Power

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FG/Lab plan fails to prioritise jobs and education

The Government’s five year capital spending plan published today fails to prioritise education development and job creation, according to Fianna Fáil Seanad Education Spokesperson Averil Power.

Senator Power commented, “Fine Gael and Labour have waxed lyrical about the importance of investing in education and job creation in order to develop the smart economy.  But in this plan, the Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has slashed spending for research and development and cut the annual spend on education projects.

“The average spend on education per year is down 10 million euro a year when compared to multi-annual allocations set out in the National Recovery Plan published last year. The protection of funding for school buildings is welcome but cuts in the budgets for third level buildings and research will have a long-term negative effect on education and jobs. A mere €1.5 million is being provided for third level buildings in 2015, compared with €60 million next year.

“I am deeply disappointed at the Government’s decision to shelve development on the DIT campus at Grangegorman.  The economic benefits of this project are significant, not only for inner city Dublin but also for the wider economy and for the development of our third level sector.  DIT is the largest third level institution in the country. The news today that the delivery of an integrated campus for the college is being shelved will come as a major blow to students and to those involved in the project.

“Equally, it is obvious that the new medical schools in UCD and NUI Galway will not now be delivered.  The new UCD law school project has also been put on hold, despite the fact that it was to be 80% funded by the private sector. Overall, the Government’s plan exposes a complete failure to provide the necessary facilities for the increasing number of students expected to start third level education over the coming years.

“Also deeply worrying is the Government’s disregard for research and development projects. The Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has said:  “the need to address fiscal targets will require some retrenchment in funding to university research and development.” Given that numerous expert reports have identified research and development as the key to future job creation, there is no doubt that the cuts in R&D funding in this plan will cost jobs.”

Senator Power concluded, “No amount of empty rhetoric from the Government will disguise the fact that it is breaking its education promises left, right and centre.”

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