Text size

Disadvantaged Primary Schools

May 18, 2012

A chara, –
We, the parents of Scoil Bhreandáin, Eachléim, Blacksod, Co Mayo, write in relation to the withdrawal of a concessionary post from our school on August 31st.

A Gaeltacht school, we are one of 16 rural disadvantaged primary schools which Enda Kenny has chosen to abandon. When cuts to Deis urban schools were reversed, under pressure from Labour TDs, 140 concessionary posts were saved. However, there was a blanket cut on the remaining 16 posts located in rural Ireland. How significant is this from a rural-based Taoiseach? When these posts were allocated, they were done so on the basis of disadvantaged status. Today these 140 posts are being saved on that same basis; however, our rural disadvantage is being ignored. This is a cruel injustice.

Some 80 per cent of us are without third-level education, with 60 per cent male unemployment, 58 per cent female unemployment, with 29 per cent with primary education only, and 50 per cent without work skills. These are but some of the frightening statistics that Enda Kenny has chosen to ignore in his home county. Perhaps he felt our story would fade into oblivion.

The loss of this concessionary teacher at one of the most difficult times our economy has ever faced is going to add to the level of disadvantage that children in peripheral rural communities already face. Our school lost a permanent post in 2011 through the abolition of the Deis rural co-ordinator and will lose another permanent post in 2015.

Our school will lose 66 per cent of its teaching staff in 48 months when GAM [General Allocation Model] hours are factored in.

As a Gaeltacht school at the tip of the Mullet peninsula, we are surrounded by water on three sides. We are on the periphery of Mayo, Ireland and northwestern Europe. So much so that a weather forecast sent from Blacksod actually deferred D-Day landings in 1944! “An ghaoth aduaidh bíonn sé cruaidh.” Unfortunately, our own Government TDs – Enda Kenny, Michael Ring, John O’Mahoney and Michelle Mulherin – are now helping a fierce northerly wind in 2012.

Iarann muid orthu an fód a sheasamh do mhuintir na tuaithe agus a mhunitir féin. All children should be cherished equally, regardless of their address.

– Yours, etc,

agus tuismitheoirí eile,
Scoil Bhreandáin,
Blacksod, Co Mayo