Eleven of the 39 small primary schools across the country that are set to lose a teacher and classroom posts in September are in Mayo, it has emerged.
The new figures, revealed by Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, show small schools in Mayo are losing considerably more teachers than any other county in Ireland.
The county with second highest number of schools losing a teacher is Galway, where seven schools will be affected. Most other counties where schools are experiencing teacher cuts are losing between one and four teachers.
The figures have prompted Ballina based TD Dara Calleary to question why Minister Quinn is forcing a disproportionate number of rural schools to take the brunt of education cutbacks.
“The number of schools in Mayo having a teacher cut is substantially higher than any other county in the country,” said the Fianna Fáil deputy.
“This is yet another attack by this Government on small schools, and more specifically small schools in Mayo.
“These decisions are posing a major threat to the future of small schools in Mayo and have been undertaken by a Dublin-based Minister who appears to have no consideration for the geography of the county, or any understanding of the importance of a school in a rural community.”
The reduction in teachers at the schools is due to ongoing changes in how smaller schools are staffed and a cost saving budgetary measure introduced in 2012.