STEPHEN MAGUIRE
Irish Times
12 Mar 2012

ALMOST 3,000 parents, pupils and teachers marched in Co Donegal at the weekend to protest at the latest education cutbacks.

Hundreds of children from schools in Ballyshannon, Fanad, Carrigart, Raphoe, Bunbeg, Gweedore, Falcarragh and many other places carried placards and chanted slogans as they converged for a rally in Letterkenny on Saturday. Led by three pipers, the huge crowd waved placards, some calling for Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to resign.

The cuts will see Donegal lose at least 30 primary teaching posts in September. There is concern many smaller schools will be forced to close or amalgamate.

Rev John Deane of Wood School in Ardara, a small Protestant school with two teachers and 18 pupils, said they were very concerned about the proposed cutbacks. “We are so very, very worried. We do not want to lose our ethos, culture or identity,” he said.

The parish priest of Arranmore Island, Fr John Joe Duffy, said people were not going to stand by and watch children’s future thrown away.

“Our fear is real fear – for all our schools. We should stand united and tell the Government – ‘Stop these cuts, reverse these cuts and give our kids a future’.”

President of the INTO Noreen Flynn said the future of Ireland’s children could not be gambled away. Among the many politicians who gathered for the protest rally were MEPs Pat The Cope Gallagher (FF) and Marian Harkin (Ind); TDs Joe McHugh (FG), Charlie McConalogue (FF) and Pearse Doherty TD (SF); and Senator Brian Ó Dómhnaill.

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