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Carndonagh meeting on future of small schools in Donegal

Deputy Charlie McConalogue.

Deputy Charlie McConalogue.

Parents, teachers and community groups are being urged to attend a public meeting in Carndonagh next week to stand up for the future of local schools.

Under plans by this Government, schools with less than 85 pupils are facing severe cutbacks to resources while schools with 50 pupils or less are at risk of closure or forced amalgamation.

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Fianna Fáil is kicking off a national campaign against the closure of small schools today (Monday) in Carndonagh. The meeting takes place at 8pm upstairs in Túl Na Rí. It’s organised by local TD and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue and Fr John Joe Duffy will be a guest speaker.

Deputy McConalogue explained, “Communities across Inishowen are at serious risk of losing their local school under plans being spearheaded by the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn. The loss of any of our local schools in Inishowen would be felt right across the community. It’s time that we all pull together and stand up against this highly damaging policy, that will essentially amount to the loss of yet another vital local service in this region.”

The Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson will be touring the country in the new year as part of his ‘Save Our Schools’ campaign. He has described the Government’s attack on small schools as ‘the latest in a series of attacks on rural communities’.

“Donegal has the highest proportion of small schools in the country. In Inishowen alone, there are 17 schools at risk of severe cuts or forced amalgamation. We also have a higher proportion of minority faith schools and gaeltacht schools, which are naturally smaller in size.

“Once again, this county is being forced to bear a disproportionate level of cuts to our local services. Many of these schools are the heart of the local community and they add much more to local life than traditional teaching during school hours. The ongoing uncertainty over their future is a threat in itself, as parents feel nervous about enrolling their children in a school that may soon face closure.

“The Government is going about its attack on small schools in the sneakiest way possible. A series of cuts to resources coupled by deliberate uncertainty is all adding to the threat of what is a vital local service.

“I am urging parents, teachers, community groups and public representatives from all sides to come to this meeting on Monday and stand up for their local school.”

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