Hundreds of teachers, parents, and students are expected to unite in Eyre Square this Saturday as the Irish National Teachers Organisation starts a second attempt to raise the attention of the Government with regard to drastic budget cuts that are set to “cause mayhem in the classroom”.
The cuts, which included reductions of pupil-to-teacher ratios, increased class sizes, and substitution changes, are being argued to be unworkable at both the primary and secondary levels by teacher and parent groups across the country.
The first widely publicised protest took place nearly a fortnight ago outside the Dail and saw some 12,000 parents, pupils, and teachers come together in an effort to urge the Government to re-assess the situation. Members of the INTO, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, and the Teachers Union of Ireland, as well as university representatives, and parent representatives, all spoke, outlining the damage the cuts will inflict on one of the country’s most vulnerable classes, the children.
The protest concluded and the Dail Deputies debated the cuts but against all reasoned argument no reversal was forthcoming. The Minister for Education, Batt O’Keeffe, has continued to make attempts to justify the cuts.
Parent and teacher groups, however, have vowed that the protests will go on, starting with this Saturday.
Commencing at 1.45pm, a representative for the INTO said that the purpose of Saturday’s protest, which is expected to draw in crowds from Roscommon, Mayo, and Clare, as well as from throughout the county, will be to send the message ‘Leave Our Kids Alone’ to Minister O’Keeffe.
“We mean business, be there and be your child’s voice,” said Maire Ni Chuinneagain, vice-president of the INTO.