Deputy Robert Troy has said any attempt to force the amalgamation of small schools in Westmeath must be resisted.
Deputy Troy raised serious concerns about the fresh threat to the future of small schools in Westmeath and rural communities in the Midlands and across the country.
“It has been clear for some time that the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn has an agenda to force the amalgamation of small rural schools. My fear is that this will result in a number of small schools being forced to close, and some communities will inevitably lose their local school entirely,” said Deputy Troy.
“There are now fears that more than 1,000 schools across the country with under 80 pupils or three teachers may face closure. This is a blind attack on small schools with no consideration of each school’s ethos, the standard of education it provides, and its contribution to the community.
“This issue is causing great fear and distress among parents, children, and teachers in small rural schools right across the region.
“I am urging the Government to clear up this matter once and for all. The Cabinet is due to discuss a Value for Money Review on small schools shortly. I am urging all Ministers sitting around that Cabinet table to recognise the fact that this cannot be judged on monetary value alone. The value of a local school is far more than what is taught in the classroom.”