Capitation Grants: Motion (Resumed).

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 650 No. 1

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The following motion was moved by Deputy Eamon Gilmore on Tuesday, 11 March 2008:

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:

“recognises the major improvements that have been made in improving funding levels for primary schools over recent years including:

[133]

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  I wish to share time with Deputy Ulick Burke. I endorse the Labour Party motion and I congratulate the party for putting it on the Order of Business. There is something entirely dysfunctional about an education system where the State defines a school as a charity, yet that is exactly what is happening. In information that I recently received from the Minister for Finance, 420 schools, representing about 10% of the total number in the country, have obtained from the Revenue Commissioners charitable tax designated status for the purposes of raising money from charitable donations. Are we happy that this should be the case? Have people really thought through the implications of this new departure? Schools are now being forced to describe themselves as charities simply to obtain funds to keep afloat.

It is arguable that the 10% of schools that have obtained this tax status are probably from the wealthiest parts of the country. That in itself highlights the growing two-tiered nature of primary education, where wealthier parents can effectively subsidize their children’s education, thereby giving them a considerable head start over other children. The segregation that has become such a feature of post primary education in recent years is now becoming very evident within primary education. If this goes unchecked for much longer, the entire strength of our national school system will be dismantled as segregation becomes the order of the day.

If schools are to obtain special tax status due to charitable donations, then at the very least those schools should have to demonstrate to the Department of Finance and to the Revenue Commissioners where exactly the public benefit comes from the status they enjoy. Crucial questions needs to be asked. Is the school open to all? How many children from a special needs background are within that school? Are the school’s facilities open or available to the wider public? What is the enrolment policy of such a school? If a new public benefit test is not employed when granting tax designation, it is fair to say the gap will continue to widen, as new benefits can only be enjoyed by a small selection of schools.

As a rich country we have been getting our education system on the cheap for too long. The spectacle of schools surviving on weekly lotto draws is a kind of embarrassing and tacky admission that education in Ireland is funded on the basis of leftovers. Schools are asked to make [134]ends meet on bits or scraps. The Government really believes that much of what goes into education should be provided on a voluntary basis. We even witnessed the spectacle yesterday where Government backbenchers stated on the national airwaves that parents enjoy fund-raising activities. What planet are they on?

Listening to the Minister for Education and Science last night, there is no sense that she is fully engaged with the hand to mouth financial operation that school managers have to encounter on a daily basis. Listening to her, one could get the impression that it is really the fault of the school that seems unwilling to recognise the great strides that we have made, according to the Pravda like announcements from the current Government. She lives in a parallel universe where the quality of propaganda and spin from her Department is more important then the quality of the funding we make available to our schools. It is time that era of spin was brought to an end.

While I accept that tonight’s motion is focused on providing a proper financial footing for schools, there are other things that need to be done. There needs to be a review of the time of the year that capitation grants should be paid, rather then the current regime where massive overdrafts have to be entered into by schools. There needs to be additional supports for schools in disadvantaged areas where fund-raising is not an option, as well as a review of the school start-up grant which is woefully inadequate. We need to review how waste and water charges can be removed from schools’ running costs and to investigate the feasibility of the State Claims Agency taking a role in providing insurance for schools, currently one of their biggest annual costs. I cannot understand why the State cannot underwrite insurance in all our schools, rather than asking each school to pay for the insurance cost. Have we not got the capacity, through the State Claims Agency, to develop a model of insurance which allows a small premium to be paid by all schools or no schools at all? Such a model exists for other State buildings and throughout the public sector. Finally, we need to examine the possibility of extending VAT relief to schools, as they cannot be described as businesses but must pay VAT at 21%. Can we redesignate schools for the purposes of reducing their VAT bill so they can at least get relief on the claims they make?

We also need an independent commission, free of political and departmental interference, with the power to assess and recommend capitation levels. A proper comparative study needs to be published which will show our funding arrangements in comparison to other EU school funding arrangements and whether we meet international best standards. I have been calling for this for the past six months. We need an independent international commission which will report to this House within six months on what should be paid by the Government and the kind of funding mechanism that needs to be employed. With schools falling into debt and parents propping them up, a whole new way of thinking about education funding is needed. That can begin with the establishment of an independent commission, and I make that proposal.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Ba mhaith liom i dtosach mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis an Teachta Brian Hayes as ucht a chuid ama a thabhairt dom. Cuirim fáilte roimh an rún agus tugaim mo thacaíocht leis.

I dtosach, fáiltím roimh an deontas a cheadaigh an t-Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíochta don phobal scoil nua i Glenamaddy an tseachtain seo caite tar éis cruinniú 500 tuismitheoirí a bhailigh sa halla sa bhaile mór sin, agus tar éis na daoine a bhuail leis an t-Aire i nGaillimh Dé hAoine seo chaite chun an ceist seo a phlé.

[135]Ar an taobh eile, áfach, níl mé sásta beag ná mór leis an gcaoi a bhfuiltear ag déileáil leis na bunscoileanna i ndáilcheantar Gaillimh Thoir. Iarraim ar an Aire athbhreithniú iomlán a dhéanamh ar an scéal agus go háirithe ar na deontais caipitíochta atá le fáil ag na bunscoileanna. Níl sé ceart ná cóir go mbeadh ar na tuismitheoirí airgead a bhailiú le n-íoc as na gnáthriachtanaisí scoile, mar shampla, solas, árachas agus seirbhisí eile.

Anuas ar sin tá an scéim tógála curtha siar arís agus arís eile. Tá níos mó ná cúig bhunscoil i mo cheantar ag fanacht le dea-scéala le fada an lá, agus i gcás amháin i Killimor, tá deich mbliana caite ó thosaigh an chaint ar obair thógála. De thoradh seo tá an scoil i Craughwell ag cur thar maoile, agus creid nó ná creid, i gcás Eachroime tá an bothar nua idir Bhéal Átha na Slua agus an Gaillimh ag dul tríd an láthair a bhí leagtha amach mar suíomh na scoile sin.

Tuigim go bhfuil airgead á chaitheamh ar scoileanna i mBaile Átha Cliath, ach impím ar an Aire cothrom na féinne a thabhairt dúinn i gContae na Gaillimhe agus féachaint chuige go gceadófar láithreach an obair thógála atá ag teastáil le fada an lá.

The Minister for Education and Science is well aware that research over the past 30 years has shown that the quality of education deteriorates significantly in class sizes of more than 20. Class size is closely linked to the issue of capitation. It is an indictment of the Minister and her failure to deliver on many of her promises on education that charitable organisations must subsidise the running of schools and provision of services.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  I wish to share time with Deputies Charlie O’Connor, Niall Blaney and Martin Mansergh.

While I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate, I do not support the motion. Reading a print-out of the text of this week’s Private Members’ business in my constituency office on Friday afternoon, I was taken aback by its lack of detail. One of the shortest motions to come before the House, its content will be popular given that no school would refuse a 100% increase in its capitation grant. It states that “many”, although not all, schools have financial difficulties but does not attempt to estimate or evaluate the scale of these difficulties.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  The Deputy obviously has not visited schools lately.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  I will address that issue. The solution, according to the motion, is to double the capitation grant without trying to evaluate the scale of financial difficulty.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  The Government made a promise to double the grant.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Its promise is to double the capitation grant within the lifetime of the Government, not within one year.

The cost of the measure proposed in the motion is in the region of €80 million. Is that the best value for money or return on expenditure we can achieve in the education system?

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Yes.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Many speakers did not make that argument. The previous speaker, for example, did not focus specifically on increasing capitation grants. Instead, he would like additional money spent elsewhere, specifically on reducing class sizes. This would not be achieved by increasing capitation grants.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  The two objectives are not mutually exclusive.

[136]Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  We must determine how the money being spent will have the greatest impact and achieve the best outcome. The motion, as framed, does not consider this aspect. I am often lectured by Opposition Deputies on the fact that the most recent Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition was the first Government to return a budget surplus.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  This Government squandered it.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Did it increase capitation grants? The Opposition frequently calls on the Government to index link various increases. The Government has gone further and introduced increases in capitation grants in primary education well in excess of inflation. Other grants are also available. The motion should have considered the issue in much greater detail.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Would the Deputy have voted for it in that case?

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  No. Even in the current year, with much talk of less money being available and the economy not growing at the same rate as in previous years, the education budget has been increased by almost €700 million or 8%, which is ahead of inflation and in excess of the increases allocated to many other Departments. These additional funds are being spent in a variety of ways.

To address a point made by Deputy Ulick Burke, it is noteworthy that in the period from 2001 to 2008, the Government increased the number of primary school teachers by 7,000.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  It is sacking them now.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Johnny Brady): Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Please allow the Deputy to continue without interruption.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  With the education budget increasing, choices need to be made as to where these additional resources should be allocated.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Forty schools are losing teachers.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  The motion calls for the capitation grant to be doubled. Not every school is in financial difficulty and their difficulties are not always of the scale the Deputies suggest. For this reason, the motion is incorrect. I am in favour——

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Is the Deputy suggesting some children should be treated differently? Should we introduce a sliding scale?

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Please allow Deputy Curran to continue without interruption.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  I am suggesting that not all schools need the rate of increase proposed in the motion.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  I will bring the Deputy to some rural schools in my constituency. Why do parents constantly have to fund-raise to cover the costs of educating their children?

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  I will address those questions. The capitation fee is not the only funding provided to schools to cover their day-to-day expenses. Reading the motion, one could arrive at that conclusion. They also receive the ancillary services grant of €150 per student per annum, a substantial amount, and the capitation grant of €178 per pupil per annum.

[137]Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Capitation grants are being used to pay water and heating bills.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Even in the current year, the capitation grant increased by €15 or 9%.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  The Government withdrew two other grants.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  The rate of increase far exceeds the inflation rate. The Government will meet its commitment to double the capitation grant by 2012, albeit not in one year as suggested by the Labour Party.

Several hundred schools in disadvantaged areas receive additional funding through the DEIS project and enhanced capitation rates are available for special schools or classes in schools.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  They have higher insurance costs.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  A range of additional financial supports are available.

I reject Deputy Brian Hayes’s suggestion that the Minister is not fully engaged with hand-to-mouth school finances. My contribution is made on the basis of my experience for more than a decade of being a member of the board of management of a school in Clondalkin, which is not a particularly affluent area of Dublin. The school, which has 300 pupils, has experienced significant improvements as the rate of capitation grant has increased. While we have made tough choices and have not engaged in fund-raising as it would not make a significant impact to do so, the board of management runs the school within the resources allocated to us. We engaged in a fund-raising project once, about ten years ago, when it was decided to introduce computers. The decision was taken before grants were available for this purpose and we have since replaced many of these computers using grants that have since become available.

I know many principals and members of boards of management of schools which are experiencing difficulties and I accept the need to address these problems. However, doubling the capitation fee alone would not achieve this purpose. The motion makes a factually incorrect assumption that every school is grossly underfunded when this is not the case.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  The Deputy should take a walk outside Clondalkin.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  All schools would gladly accept a 100% increase in the capitation grant, although this would cost €80 million. Other issues raised by Deputies are also worthy of consideration but are being omitted by the very nature of the motion.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  The Deputy should visit rural areas to see how real people live and parents struggle.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Years of neglect have meant that some schools have inherent problems and have high heating bills and maintenance costs. It would be possible to run them more efficiently if other remedies were implemented, such as major improvements in the fabric of the buildings. A range of projects and issues need to be addressed. Doubling the capitation grant is a popular proposal but would not deliver a good return on the additional expenditure required from the Department’s Vote.

Public representatives are contacted by schools seeking additional school buildings, classrooms, teachers and so forth. The motion ignores these issues and assumes all schools do not live within the financial constraints imposed on them.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  The Minister ignored those issues for ten years.

[138]Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I welcome the opportunity to make a brief contribution to this important debate and compliment our colleagues in the Labour Party on giving us that opportunity. I am pleased to see so many prominent members of the Labour Party, including future leaders, in the Chamber to hear my contribution. I appreciate their support.

In her fine contribution last night the Minister said she was glad to take the opportunity to outline to the House her commitment and that of the Government to improving day to day funding arrangements for primary schools. That is the core issue before us.

We all have issues we want to raise. My colleague, Deputy Curran, made several references to Clondalkin. Therefore, I will not be apologetic about mentioning Tallaght, Firhouse, Greenhills——

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  We are counting, Charlie.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  ——Templeogue, Bohernabreena and Brittas.

In preparation for this debate I decided to be up and about early this morning and visited Holy Rosary national school in Ballycragh, which was a great experience because——

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  What did the Deputy promise them?

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I did not promise them anything. I went to see the school to have the opportunity to talk to the young people, teachers and community.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Is that where there are more children in prefabs than in the school?

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Deputy O’Connor to continue without interruption.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I thank the Acting Chairman for protecting me. He will be interested to know that in all the classes——

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Prefabs, Charlie.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  The Deputy should let me make the contribution. I will represent the school in Ballycragh.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Prefabs.

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Please, Deputy Lynch.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  In a number of classes the principal asked pupils if they knew who I was and, thank God, they did; they knew other colleagues also.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  That is why the Deputy went there.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I ask the Acting Chairman not to tell anyone this story but in one particular class the principal asked the youngsters if they knew who I was.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  We all know the Deputy.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  One hand went up and the youngster said, “Yes, I know who he is.” The teacher asked the child the name and the child replied, “Charlie Lenihan”.

(Interruptions).

[139]Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  What a burst of genius.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  It is a true story.

Deputy Conor Lenihan: Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  They are very united. It is called branding.

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Deputy O’Connor to continue without interruption.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I am determined to make a number of serious points.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  The Deputy has just made a very serious one.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  Holy Rosary national school in Ballycragh has a large international population. Deputy Lynch said — I do not deny it nor am I afraid to say it — that they are taught in prefabs. Other schools in other regions have overtaken it in terms of permanent accommodation.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  There are more children in prefabs than in classrooms.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I say from the Government benches and have said to the Minister directly that this is the type of school that should be facilitated. The community should not have to wait for this.

I have often made the point that there should be more joined-up thinking between the local authorities — in my case South Dublin County Council in Tallaght — and the planners in the Department of Education and Science. We should not allow so many houses to be built without also providing for proper educational and other infrastructure. It is happening in Ballycragh and other communities. People talk about the need for new schools in County Meath and Drogheda but I am making a strong case for Ballycragh, as I would always do for my community.

As I go about my business — I am aware this is the case everywhere else — I hear many schools lament the fact that funding has not been provided this year for summer works. I have told the Minister that it is important she understands that such funding should be provided.

I want to talk about my local school. I live in Springfield in Tallaght and mention it because——

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  The Deputy should put his telephone number on the record also.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  What do they call the Deputy there?

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  ——the local school is a good example of what happens in many others. There are 1,100 pupils in St. Mark’s, a school that was founded in 1973 and opened on the day Erskine Childers died in 1974. It is unique because almost 500 pupils come from 48 countries. I have heard Deputy Burton and others talk about the particular demands in certain areas. This is the type of school that should be receiving special attention because it faces even more challenges than many other schools. It has been helped by the appointment of special language teachers — six in our case — and has received other funds but it needs more for IT. It is the type of school — I will bring Deputy Lynch there some day if she would like to visit it — that should receive even more attention and assistance. What happens there can happen in the rest of the country.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Extra funding is not being provided in the rest of the country.

[140]Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I could be on the Opposition benches having a more comfortable life but I am on the Government benches and not afraid to highlight the concerns of my community. I will continue to do so. I look forward to more such debates. I support the Government amendment.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Support the motion.

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak to the motion. I thank my colleagues, Deputies O’Connor and Curran, for sharing time with me.

I am baffled as to the reason the motion is before the House because this sector has seen increases year on year well ahead of inflation. School funding has dramatically increased under the Government, with increases never dreamed of ten years ago. There will always be negativity in the House, regardless of what the Government achieves in whatever Department.

Total expenditure on education this year will be in excess of €9.3 billion. That is inclusive of the additional €690 million provided in this year’s budget. That is a huge slice of the overall Government budget and one that should not be derided.

Focusing on primary schools funding, approximately €167 million will be paid to meet day-to-day running costs. On the subject of capitation grants, the standard rate has been increased by almost 100% since 2001, with schools currently receiving almost €179 per pupil compared to a little over €95 in 2001. A total of €97.4 million will be expended by the Department of Education and Science this year under the capitation grants scheme. As all Members are aware, the amount of grant paid to a school is determined by the enrolment in the school, subject to a minimum grant in the case of a school with less than 60 pupils, which, to be parochial for one moment like my colleague, would be the case in many schools in my constituency of Donegal North East. It is also worth noting that gaelscoileanna outside Gaeltacht areas also receive an additional €25.39 per pupil. Enhanced rates of capitation funding are also provided in respect of children with special educational needs who attend special schools or special classes attached to mainstream schools. The current rates range from €457 to €880 per pupil.

Ancillary services grants have also seen a significant rise in recent years, providing more funding for schools to cover the cost of secretaries and caretakers. This grant is also based on pupil numbers, with primary schools receiving just over €151 per pupil. In addition to the funds mentioned, each primary school with full recognition receives a minor works grant composed of a €5,500 basic grant plus €18.50 per mainstream pupil and €74 per special needs pupil on the rolls on 30 September of the year prior to issue of the grant.

Under the DEIS, the Government is striving to ensure those suffering from disadvantage will be looked after. Some 873 schools were invited to participate in the programme, of which 670 are primary schools and 203 second level schools. A large number of schools in my constituency of Donegal North East come under the DEIS plan and I see at first hand the benefits enjoyed by the children attending these schools. Almost €14 million in additional grant assistance was issued to primary schools to address educational disadvantage in November 2007. In addition to this extra financial assistance for schools participating in the DEIS, other benefits are also provided for them by way of pre-school intervention, reduced pupil-teacher ratios etc.

The programme for Government commits to increasing day-to-day funding for our schools and will double capitation grants for primary schools over five years. It also commits to increase grants to schools significantly for the employment of support staff. It sets out our commitment to continue providing top-class education for our children. There have been problems with class sizes, special needs etc., but the Minister is making progress on these issues. The Minister [141]must be commended on the positive changes she has brought about in education during her tenure.

Like in other counties, some schools are waiting on extensions and renovations in County Donegal. The most pertinent sites are St. Eunan’s College in Letterkenny, Lurgybrack, Glenswilly and the Boys School national schools in Letterkenny. The Minister has been working with me for some time on these issues. I hope in due course the extensions and new buildings for these schools will be delivered, like the Minister has done for other schools in County Donegal.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  They will be on the way in time for the next general election.

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  That is a cheap comment from the other side. The people of Donegal appreciate what the Minister has done for schools there.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  They are still waiting.

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  The list for school renovations is much shorter than what it used to be when Deputy Burke’s party was in Government.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  It is nearly as long if not longer.

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  We have come such a long way in the past several years with school buildings and education facilities. Some €104.5 million was provided for major school building and modernisation projects in County Donegal between 1998 and 2006.

I am proud that €35 million was invested in the Letterkenny Institute of Technology between 1997 and 2007, resulting in the college being one of Donegal’s finest assets.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  What has this to do with primary schools?

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  I had first-hand experience of that as I attended the college. The facilities on offer are incredible.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Deputy is a good product of the college.

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Over €7.4 million was invested in adult and further education in Donegal in 2006. No Member needs to be told of the major changes that have been brought about by this. This is a small snapshot of the good times we have experienced over the past ten years.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  It is all gone now.

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  It is important to consider the wider picture. We do have more to do but we have done a lot, more than many could have imagined.

There are no instant fixes for funding issues that arise. We have very capable Ministers who will bring about the steady and progressing changes necessary to solve issues. With the global economic crisis we are facing, it is important the reform necessary in all Departments is brought about with care. Deputy Hanafin is the most progressive Minister for Education and Science for a long time. She will bring about changes necessary in the education system, be it funding or otherwise.

[142]Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  No area is more important for our future than education. I welcome this debate.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Despite the Minister’s lies on the matter.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  There is no more worthwhile investment. We have long ceased to be a cheap location for employment, so our advantages will reside chiefly in the skills and intelligence of our young people.

The capitation grant for primary schools has trebled from the equivalent of €57 in 1996-97 to €178 this year.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Fianna Fáil promised to double it in the past three elections. Promises were made in three general elections in a row and still nothing has been done.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  An enhanced special needs capitation has applied since 2002 and a salary services grant in place of community employment schemes since 2001.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Fianna Fáil was telling lies to the public.

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Deputy Stagg will get his opportunity to contribute to the debate.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  There is also an additional capitation for gaelscoileanna. I accept costs have increased, especially water charges and energy bills. Even with the best management, most school finances are very tight.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  We could have a whip-round.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Better still, we could have a dig-out.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  The commitment in the programme for Government, reflected in the Fianna Fáil election manifesto to double capitation grants over the lifetime of this Government is certainly needed.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  How about a cake sale?

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Please, Deputies, allow Deputy Mansergh without interruption.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Progress will depend on broader economic conditions and the State’s finances. In our election manifesto, it was explicitly stated Fianna Fáil will put responsibility first.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen, did not.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  That is the sting.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Fianna Fáil did not say that before the election.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  All the commitments made in this are dependent on our country’s economic prosperity which we will never put at risk.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Three elections in a row and still nothing has been done.

[143]Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Against the backdrop of current conditions, a 12% increase in the capitation grant in 2008, which translates into 9% for each individual pupil, and given the increasing numbers of children enrolled, is quite generous.

There are increased costs and the Government does not want to remove all incentives to manage scarce resources like energy and water responsibility by blanket subsidisation of all costs incurred.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  That is about paying for the product not subsidisation.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  At the same time capitation should cover all basic running costs at a reasonable rate.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Let the parents continue fund-raising.

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Deputy Stagg’s party is losing time with this.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Does Deputy Stagg have no respect for other speakers? No, he does not.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Deputy is being dishonest. He should not be telling more lies.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  As the Minister pointed out in her speech last night——

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Deputy Stagg will withdraw that remark and the term “lies”.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I withdraw it in favour of the term “dishonest”. The Deputy is being dishonest.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Some imaginative arrangements have been devised for national schools, particularly in areas where there is a substantial immigrant school population. Most people will be pleased that the existing school system is to be adapted rather than abolished. I wish to pay particular tribute to the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Martin, for his imaginative and flexible response to the new pressures being faced in certain areas.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  What about the money? Show us the money.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Voluntary community or parish involvement in school support and management is a good development and preferable to a purely and exclusive State system of schooling which may be somewhat soulless. This does mean small contributions are likely to be required from parents, largely outside areas of social disadvantage. In many areas, parents who actively want to enhance facilities for their children are only too glad to participate in local fund-raising——

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  They pay their taxes too.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  ——and sometime make contributions in kind.

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Allow Deputy Mansergh without interruption.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  The goodwill should not be exploited or taken advantage of by the State and should not be in lieu of basic supports.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  What about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul?

[144]Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Deputy Burke was not interrupted when he made his contribution.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  The Minister has provided additional funding for schools serving areas of social disadvantage.

The tradition that education Ministers in the main are former teachers has been vindicated by Deputy Hanafin. I pay tribute to her concentrated effort to prioritise social disadvantage and inclusion. Even ten years ago such services were underdeveloped. Now, nearly every school has access to resource teachers and special needs assistants which can increase strains on space in older buildings. The previous Government gave this priority over the reduction of the pupil-teacher ratio. Some reduction in the ratio did take place.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Accidentally.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  While many areas of the country are having to wait, there is some understanding of the short-term priority the Minister has given to tackling acute demographic pressures, partly due to migration into the counties surrounding Dublin.

Deputy Conor Lenihan: Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  I must leave but I trust the Acting Chairman will contain the Ballymagash element in the Chamber.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  One of the most important pledges made in the general election by my party was to increase the number of primary teachers by 4,000.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  What did the Minister do last week?

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  The Minister informed the House last night that not only has the pledge been kept but it is ahead of target with half the number delivered in the first two years, which is very welcome.

I pay tribute to the excellent work done in providing new schools or building extensions. The quality is high and it probably increases the demand for better facilities from other neighbouring schools. The €390 million capital application for primary schools is broadly at the same level as 2007.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is way less than promised by Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  The comparable figure in 1997 was the equivalent of €44 million.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  When will it be reviewed?

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  As a result of the success of the Celtic tiger economy, expectations on the delivery of projects in quality and quantity have been transformed. A senior cleric in my church recently expressed the view that modern national schools are so good, he does not understand why parents would choose to go private. In truth, few do, although sometimes there can be issues other than educational ones in that choice.

Many schools are looking forward to the resumption of the excellent summer works scheme where their applications have been frozen until funding is resumed. There are provisions to tackle emergencies.

A particular issue in south Tipperary is the long promised provision of a site for the gaelscoil in Clonmel which was identified as promised by the Minister last May. We hope this will lead on to a new building.

[145]Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It will start with two prefabs and then have to wait another eight years.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  An excellent new gaelscoil was opened by the Minister in Tipperary town three years ago.

Listening to the contribution of the Fine Gael spokesperson on education, I cannot agree with two of his suggestions. It is not good or viable fiscal practice to have special VAT regimes for particular sectors such as schools. Nor do I agree with the establishment of outside commissions, often at considerable expense, to determine what we ought to be doing on the level of capitation grants. This can only be done by the Government in the overall budget context.

I look forward to a rise in the volume of education expenditure, not just to cope with demographic pressures but to improve the quality of provision——

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Show them the money.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  ——and to make the task of teachers easier.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Money and profit.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Last Tuesday morning a man came up to me on the street in Tipperary and in the course of a short conversation he remarked, quite unprompted, that the Minister, Deputy Hanafin, is doing a good job. I could only agree.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Up Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  They must be related.

Deputy Martin Mansergh: Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  No.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  I wish to share my time with Deputies Ciarán Lynch, Kathleen Lynch and Seán Sherlock.

I commend my colleagues in the Labour Party on tabling this motion. As Deputies are aware, I have dealt with the area of education over a number of years and have had contacts with a variety of schools. This is an issue that has been brought up consistently by schools across the country.

One of the things I consider to be totally unfair about the system is that schools must raise money for the essentials of running a school, whether it be insurance, heating or water. There is a variety of services that should not need to be obtained through fund-raising, particularly in schools in which the parents cannot afford to provide extra funding. What this means is that the money obtained by schools through fund-raising is going on essentials and they do not then have the necessary funds for extras. Extras can make a major difference in terms of early advantage for young people, particularly such extra-curricular activities as drama, extra languages, sports, school bands and so on. Ideally, schools should be able to do these things with money raised from parents. Instead, they have to use this money for the basic essentials of running the schools. That is the ultimate equality at the core of our education system, which is there from the very start of the primary sector. It means schools that do not have sufficient funds from parents are at a disadvantage from the start compared to schools in better off areas where parents can afford to raise money. Ultimately, young children lose out.

I just spoke on the phone with a teacher in a DEIS school. Deputy Blaney referred to the fact that schools in DEIS areas receive extra funding. This teacher was telling me that she and [146]her colleagues cannot bring the children to matches or do other basic things for the children in the school because they simply cannot ask the parents for the funding. They know the parents do not have the money. This is a basic inequality within the primary education system.

The Government has promised to double the capitation grant and we want to see that promise fulfilled. We also want to see its other promises fulfilled. The Minister promised to provide 4,000 extra teachers in order to reduce class sizes to the specific reduction targets on which a commitment was given before the last general election but one. No sooner had the Minister, Deputy Hanafin, come into office than she said she was sorry but she would not be able to fulfil the promises made during the election campaign. Now the Government is in office after another election and we are already being told, again, that it will not be able to fulfil its promises about class size. This is not acceptable. In classrooms with a large number of students per teacher it is impossible to give every child the attention he or she needs. These promises on capitation grants and class sizes should be fulfilled. It is not acceptable for the Government to turn around shortly after being elected and say it is sorry but it cannot fulfil its promise.

Deputy Mansergh, in his totally disingenuous speech, seemed to be saying that it was just that the finances are not right, that the Government did not really mean its promises and that it really meant it would fulfil them only if there was lots of money available. However, the voting public believed what it was told, as did parents and the people running the schools. The Government then came into office and said it was sorry, but it was not going to happen. That is not good enough.

The Labour Party did a survey a couple of years ago on the cost of running schools in the course of which we sent a letter to all schools in the country. I would like to give some examples of what was written in reply.

Another quote is as follows:

Another letter stated:

The last quote may be of some relevance here: “Imagine if the TD in the Dáil had to sell raffle tickets to pay for their office to be painted!”

That is the reality of what is going on in schools around the country. It must stop. We can afford to give our children the best possible start. We can afford to give them proper conditions in schools. We can afford to give them class sizes that allow them to learn. We can afford to give them equipment for sport. Something I feel strongly about is that many schools around the country, apart from having no equipment, do not even have PE halls. The children can only exercise if the weather is appropriate for going outside.

[147]As many people have already said in the course of this debate, parents are being forced to shop in certain shops to raise money for equipment for the schools. This is not acceptable. It is not appropriate that children in this country do not have access to PE, particularly in view of the growing rate of obesity among young people. If they do not get that start in primary school and become used to physical activity and being involved in sport, they are much less likely to take it up at a later stage. This applies particularly to girls, who are consistently under-represented in sport. We need to address this issue.

With regard to the cancellation of the summer works scheme, Deputy Mansergh was, again, playing with words when he said he was looking forward to its being restored. The summer works scheme is gone. Schools used to use this scheme for all sorts of repairs and minor works that needed to be done during the summer holidays. It was very much appreciated by schools. I do not understand why it is gone, because it was one of the most effective schemes run by the Department of Education and Science. This is another cut about which the public was not warned before the general election.

I am concerned about the difficulties being experienced by parents in obtaining needs assessment and the support they require for children with special needs in schools. There are waiting lists of up to two years to see educational psychologists and so on. Again, the children are not getting the start they deserve. Children with special needs, more than any other children, need that.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  I will begin by asking a question. Does the education of a child have a value or a price? It does with this Government. It is €173 per year or, to be more precise, 70 cent a day. That is the value placed on education by the Government. What are the costs of this? The attitude is “save now and pay the bills later”.

In 1999 an OECD report was carried out which showed that Ireland had one of the worst literacy rates in the developed world. A total of 25% of the adult population had basic reading and writing difficulties. That is one in four adults. One in four adults has to take a back seat every time an opportunity comes his or her way. One in four adults does not seek that promotion in case he or she will have to do some written paperwork. One in four adults avoids getting involved in the local community for fear he or she would have to write the minutes at a meeting. One in four adults dreads the thought of his or her child coming home each day asking for help with homework. These parents suffer further anguish due to the distress of seeing their own problems repeated in their children. These adults have come through our primary education system. This is an indictment of our education system. Despite what we say about it, we have one of the worst literacy rates in Europe.

These are the problems and challenges that parents and teachers should be working together to resolve. We know these problems are caused by underfunding and overcrowding in our primary school sector. Surely the goodwill and energy shown by parents and teachers in raising funds on a day to day basis would be better expended resolving these problems, rather than wasted buying paper clips and sundry items needed daily. How does the Minister find it acceptable that teachers and parents expend this energy making up the shortfall that currently exists in the capitation grant? I would like the Minister to state whether she finds it acceptable that parents must run pub quizzes, race nights and raffles to fund schools. Does the Minister see this as part of mainstream education in the primary sector?

Speaking recently on this matter the chairman of the Irish Primary Principals Network, Mr. Larry Fleming, said eight out of ten primary schools in Cork are wasting valuable teaching time and energy by fund-raising to keep themselves afloat, as they struggle with the current 70 [148]cent per child, per day capitation grant. He went on to say that financial debt causes principals headaches and affects the education of all primary school-age children. The network’s research identifies that Government funding only covers half of the bills facing schools; these bills, on average, come to €30,000 per year for most schools. The capitation grant falls far short of covering this.

Every parent with a school-going child is only too familiar with the additional costs involved in sending a child to school and they know that the concept of free education is a myth. Parents must put their hands in their pockets every week to give money to schools as they pack lunches for their children. These parents know the work done by parents and teachers to meet the day to day costs of giving a child a decent education.

We all receive requests, letters, notices and invitations and we offer what support we can because every parent in the country is only too familiar with this problem. We make what donations we can towards schools because, like all parents, we want our children to get the best possible education. We are only too happy to give assistance when we are asked but, in fact, we are being held over a barrel in this regard because the Minister will not assist.

Parents constantly wonder why they and teaching staff are asked to spend so much time raising supplementary school income when the country is experiencing unprecedented wealth. Why, when the Exchequer’s coffers were bulging, were parents expected to cover costs?

A more worrying development has seen schools seeking sponsorship from private businesses to buy materials and equipment. Businesses are supplementing the day to day running of the public school system. Children and families are increasingly bombarded with promotions by newspapers, supermarkets and fast food outlets promising to equip schools. These promotions mostly seek to fill gaps in the provision of PE equipment, IT equipment and so on but it is appalling that schools should find themselves in these circumstances. Does the Minister feel this situation is acceptable?

The examination of the voucher system amounts to more than an abstract educational point. The system clearly places a commercial agenda in our schools; children will become consumers rather than students and learning will be product focused rather than child focused. A major cultural change is taking place in our education system because of the voucher system. Pester power is a major factor in this as not only children and parents but friends, family members and work colleagues are pulled into the system to supplement basic, day to day requirements in schools. In the absence of action by the Minister for Education and Science on this matter this practice will continue. In the absence of a proper capitation grant, our children, instead of getting the best education possible, will be faced with a continuation of the voucher-based system. Free education is becoming token education.

It is time for the Minister to say enough is enough, examine this issue and come back before the House with an ambitious response from her Department, rather than hide behind the figures she threw at us yesterday.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Will the Acting Chairman inform me when I have one minute left to speak? I do not wish to use Deputy Sherlock’s time as he will kick me.

Acting Chairman: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  I will tell him when he may do that.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  The motion before the House is timely and the energy it has generated on the Government’s side indicates this. This country has reached a positive stage at which people ask what one knows rather than who one knows. The issue of who one knows emerged [149]from a time in which one had to be connected to get a job but that is no longer the case. It is now a question of what one knows and that is a good point to be at in terms of how young people are perceived in Ireland and abroad.

What people know depends on the education they receive and, in an holistic sense, the type of person an individual becomes depends, to a large extent, on the type of primary education he or she receives. Primary school is the university we all attend. We may examine drop out figures relating to those who do not attend secondary school, those who do not sit the junior certificate, those who do not sit the leaving certificate and those who do not make it to third level and beyond but everyone attends primary school. The seeds are sown at primary school and one’s ability to progress in life will depend a great deal on one’s experience there.

I have listened to the contributions from the Government’s side for the past two nights. One Deputy said that not all schools need this money, and that is true, but the overwhelming majority of schools do need it. The speakers on the other side of the House have suggested that money is available through Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, DEIS, and other areas but I can only speak for Cork. I was asked to sponsor sports gear and I did, because the school had no other way of getting it, despite the fact that PE is part of the curriculum. I was asked to sponsor a team in a golf classic because the school had no other way to raise money. I have been involved in cake sales — thankfully I was not asked to bake, but I was asked to purchase, which I did. There have been club nights and pub quizzes. These events are not held to keep mothers busy because they have nothing else to do.

  8 o’clock

Being a member of a parents’ committee in a school means being involved in a fund-raising committee. Fund-raising is not carried out for extra ballet classes or additional presents at Christmas; it is about paying for heating, roof repairs, replacement windows and equipment. Teachers in infants classes buy presents from their own money to help young children learn. Children as young as five inform us of colours days, when they need not wear their uniforms but can wear their own clothes to school. For the privilege of doing this they must each bring €2 to school. One would give them that amount to go to the shop any day of the week. That €2 from every child in the school on that day, which is once a month, is the difference between whether that school functions properly for the rest of the year.

I will come back to what one knows as opposed to who one knows. What one knows depends on the grounding one gets at primary level. Some of the schools I know are not making the cut. No matter how hard they try they have not the finances necessary to provide the education that will allow those children when asked what they know, to stand up and say with confidence that they know as much as the other person. That is the difficulty.

I want to read something, after which I will sit down, because my colleague has far more important things to say than I do. A particular teacher who was in the Visitors’ Gallery last night from a Dublin constituency e-mailed my party colleague today as follows:

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  It should be like a correction.

[150]Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  I thank Deputy Lynch for her excellent time keeping. I hope what I have to say will be equally and not more important than what she said in her contribution.

The Government stated last night, in the course of this debate, that in 2008 the Department of Education and Science will pay €167 million to primary schools to cover day-to-day running costs and that a €21 increase to €330 per pupil means primary schools receive unprecedented levels of funding per pupil to meet running costs. This belies a fundamental lack of understanding of the true nature of educational provision as our citizens understand it, as the parents understand it, and as the principals and teachers understand it.

When a parent sends a child to school, an unwritten social contract that is enshrined within the Irish psyche is entered into that the child will receive the best education possible. That social contract was not on the basis that the parent must also fundraise, take part in raffles, sing karaoke, hillwalk, play bingo and join in pub quizzes so that the child can have the benefit of water, electricity and a myriad other services within their school.

In real economic terms the costs of maintenance of schools has increased considerably in recent years and the burden now faced by schools to meet these additional costs ultimately places a further financial strain on parents of children who find themselves fundraising for schools on a constant basis.

Educational provision should not have to be subjected to this form of pressure. It is enough for any school in these times to have to educate and educate alone. That in itself remains the fundamental challenge and, arguably, it should be the only challenge. I acknowledge that the Government has increased the capitation grant since 1997. However, by doubling the capitation grant now, it does not have to come at the expense of providing extra teachers, a theory which has been posited elsewhere in this debate, and somewhat disingenuously.

The logic of our position is to ensure that the headache of maintenance and running costs is taken away from all schools so that they can concentrate on providing education and continue, in certain instances, to do battle with the Minister on the capital programme for the provision of adequate school buildings in places such as Castlelyons, Rahan, Grange and Midleton where no proper buildings have been provided for considerable periods. Not only have schools to raise funds, they also are operating in substandard buildings. This is the reason the Labour Party is raising this issue. If the capitation grant is increased, it will at least take some of those pressures away.

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science (Deputy Seán Haughey): Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  The Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Hanafin, said last night that the priority this Government attaches to providing quality education is evident from the fact that the education budget has increased by more than 70% since 2002 to more than €9.3 billion this year. The extra €690 million being provided for education in 2008, compared with last year’s budget, represents a major achievement in the context of a tighter economic environment. It will enable us to consolidate the major improvements of recent years and to make further progress in a wide range of areas.

The Government is fully aware of the funding pressures on schools. We are committed to doubling the primary capitation grant by 2012 and to significantly increasing the value of the ancillary services grant used by schools for the employment of support staff, such as caretakers and secretaries. These commitments are a direct follow-on from the clear thrust of Government policy over recent years to improve the position of primary schools, in particular.

Since 2001 the standard rate of primary capitation grant has been increased by 86%. In the same period the value of the ancillary services grant has been almost doubled. In 2001 a primary school with 300 pupils was in receipt of less than €52,000 to meet its day-to-day running costs. That same school today is receiving almost €100,000. This excludes the salaries of teachers and [151]special needs assistants paid by the Department. By any standard, this is a very significant improvement within a relatively short period.

The cost pressures on schools are taken into account each year in determining the level of increases in the capitation and ancillary services grants. In 2008 primary schools are getting €330 per pupil in such grants, €21 more per child than they got last year. At a national level this adds up to an investment of approximately €167 million in standard day to day funding for schools. In addition, enhanced rates of capitation funding are paid in respect of children with special educational needs, who attend special schools or special classes attached to mainstream schools. Extra funding is also being targeted at schools serving disadvantaged communities. Funding for additional grants for the most disadvantaged schools increased by 15% this year, reflecting the Government’s determination to prioritise those that most need extra resources.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, in case the Minister of State inadvertently misleads the House, his party specifically promised to double the capitation grant immediately after the election.

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  No, in the lifetime of the Government.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  No, the Government did not say any such thing.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That is not a point of order.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Just in case the Minister of State is inadvertently misleading the House——

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  The programme for Government states during the lifetime of the Government. I would advise everyone to read it.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  As soon as the election was over the Government——

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  This Government has brought about a sea change in funding for schools. The huge improvement that we have delivered contrasts starkly with the meagre increases and stagnation that were the order of the day under the rainbow coalition.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It was during the Famine.

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  It was not quite the Famine when the coalition was in power, although it seemed like that for many people. There is a lot of doublespeak.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Go back to 1916.

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  How much time do I have left?

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Too long.

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  There is a lot of doublespeak from the Opposition. For the past week the Opposition criticised the Minister for Finance for not curtailing public expenditure, given the current economic environment.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We did not say that. That was invented. Are there magicians in the Department of Education and Science?

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  In this debate, Opposition Members have called for an extra €80 million for school funding. The Labour Party’s potential coalition partners, Fine Gael, said that. Maybe they are not the Labour Party’s coalition partners.

[152]Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  On a point of order, it is a longstanding precedent in this House that when a Minister of State reads from a script, it is provided. Can we have a copy?

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Only for the opening debate.

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  I assure the Deputy that I am not speaking from a script. I am re-iterating the points made by the Minister in her contribution. From where does the Opposition believe that €80 million could come?

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  What about St. Patrick’s Day? The Government could start there.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  There was no problem before the election.

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Before I conclude I wish to deal with criticisms regarding teacher numbers and school buildings. The Government is committed to providing 4,000 extra primary teachers by 2012. We are ahead of target in that regard. With the additional teachers in place this year, and those provided for in budget 2000, extra primary teachers will be provided in just two years.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Minister of State knows that is not necessary.

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Record investment is being provided for school buildings. This year, capital investment at primary level will amount to €390 million compared to €140 million in 2001. This Government is committed to primary schools and its commitment is unprecedented. We intend to deliver significant improvements in the years ahead.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Save money for the cake sale.

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  We have had a constructive debate over the course of last night and this evening. I am delighted to re-iterate the Government’s commitment in the programme for Government and the commitments of the Towards 2016 agreement. We have made substantial progress in recent years.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Government is breaking its promise for the second time in a row.

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Our commitments are for the lifetime of this Government. In 2002, there was an economic setback but the commitments made prior to the 2002 election were implemented during the course of the Government.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Not on class sizes.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  What about the proposal on class sizes for under nine year olds?

Deputy Seán Haughey: Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  We must be conscious of the economic situation that prevailed in the second half of the year. Statistics show that the economic downturn occurred in the second half of the year and it would be irresponsible of the Government not to be conscious of that. Our commitments are there and refer to education generally. Our record can be seen and some €9.3 billion will be spent on education this year. In particular the increase was €690 million, despite a serious economic situation that presented to us at the time of the Estimates. I commend the amendment to the House.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen, did not give the money to the Department.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  I propose to share time with Deputy Burton. This is one of the most important and timely motions. I thank my colleagues and party leader for tabling it. Unless [153]one is in an ivory tower or travelling with blacked out windows, it is clear that a significant number of primary schools are facing a serious crisis. Many schools try to innovate with regard to the fund-raising ventures they must pursue to bridge the gap between what is received by way of capitation grant and what is required for the upkeep and maintenance of the school.

The Government should do us favour: it should spare us the platitudes, using the single transferable speech, and focus on what it has done, including the abandonment of the educational establishments in the State. The Government did away with the summer works scheme. I copped onto it and had to tell many teachers that it was gone. They did not realise it.

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  It was announced in the budget.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  One would need a magnifying glass to find it. The Minister should not try that. She is the most political Minister with responsibility for education that I have ever met in this House.

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  I personally announced it.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  She runs around with bits of paper to her people while the Labour Party is fighting to get schools. She runs around to some of her own Deputies who hardly know where is the school. The Minister should not try that racket with me. She reneged on the pupil-teacher ratio commitment.

I blame the INTO as well. They always play nice ball with every Fianna Fáil Deputy they meet. The Labour Party tells the truth. Every Fianna Fáil candidate tells the INTO that they love it and embrace every teacher. They promise to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio, which must be the fault of the Labour Party. It was in Government 40 years ago and that is the reason for the current pupil-teacher ratio. It is all our fault. The Labour Party is a proponent of public expenditure for productive purposes and where could be more productive than the education system and where more productive than at primary school level?

I remember free education as a young person in the 1960s. It is not free now. People are running around the place, at race nights, bingo drives and cake sales.

The Minister’s Department is giving principals the runaround. They spend months trying to contact the architectural section trying to get details of what would satisfy the requirements imposed by the Department for school buildings. I can prove that the Minister will not give them a reply. Perhaps she will get someone to telephone principals, who must expend much time doing work that is not really their job. Boards of management are running around fund-raising. Parents’ associations and teachers are misled as to the school project that is going ahead. When the plug is pulled, it is not a cutback but it is said the school misunderstood the letter it was sent. Everyone must be stupid. I read the letters and I am not stupid. I had to raise holy war in the Dáil. Some Fianna Fáil councillors who ran suggested I was totally off the wall. Clonmellon was supposed to go ahead in October. Gainstown was supposed to go ahead belatedly, but what about Sonna and Loughegar national schools? They were put on the back burner but now the Minister does not have the guts to face them. There will be another announcement that will drag it into 2009 and 2010. The Minister must think we came up the River Liffey in a banana boat, with a goose pulling it.

Why are there so many prefabs in the country? It has taken two months to count them and the Department does not know how many there are. It is scandalous that nobody can give a straight answer to a straight question. Free education is a myth and the Labour Party illustrated how Ireland lags behind the OECD in terms of expenditure on education. It is no surprise that on the ground significant deficits arise. Parents’ associations, boards of management, principals and other stakeholders are compelled to go begging to pay the costs of heating, electricity, repairs, insurance and cleaning. Could the Minister not try to help them?

[154]The State Claims Agency operates on behalf of the State. Why can we not have centralised insurance payments?

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hear, hear.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  There could be negotiations with the large insurance companies, such as Church and General Insurance, to receive a major discount. Imagine every primary and secondary school going to the major insurance company and negotiating. Would that not save a few quid? It would save having to hold events at stalls. I could go on for a long time but we will return to this issue because the Minister will not pull the wool over our eyes even if she can pull it over the eyes of 40% of the population.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  As every school child knows, the Proclamation of 1916 promises proudly to cherish all children of the nation equally. As Easter approaches and the Minister for Education and Science heads to the annual round of teacher conferences, her report card for this year will consist of an endless line of broken promises and a big black mark. I will remind her of the promises she has broken this year alone, namely, failure to provide adequate capitation grants for primary schools as promised by Fianna Fáil before the general election, the abandonment of the solemn election promise to reduce class sizes — the INTO arranged monster meetings in every town and Fianna Fáil promised solemnly that class sizes would be reduced to give children room to learn in the modern primary school — the axing of the summer grants scheme of special and emergency repairs and the long-fingering and axing of many school extension programmes and prefab replacements.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Hear, hear.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  With Fianna Fail safely back in office, does the Minister care? She may believe that she has had the last laugh, particularly on the INTO and the various educational interests. Such is her arrogance that the abandonment of the promise on class sizes was announced via a website notice. Many principals are discovering that their promised extensions have slipped from being urgent to some undefined time in the future as the Minister seeks to take the axe to significant elements of the capital programme for school extensions and refurbishments and the replacement of prefabs.

The basic costs faced by schools — water charges, refuse collection and insurance — are all escalating dramatically. Schools across the country are struggling to provide a basic service, to keep the heating on, the water running and the doors open. This is a far cry from the idyllic digital school of the 21st century referred to on the website, not even taking into account computers, physical education gear and school books. In a modern education system, these should not be optional extras.

The Minister’s failure to fund primary schools properly stands alongside her other great failure to introduce a proper system of preschool education. While primary education is maintained by her as the Cinderella of the education system, there is not even a chance that children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, will get the type of preschool education that all of the research shows pays dividends for life for the child, the family and society. It is remarkable that the Early Start system introduced by her predecessor, the Labour Party Minister for Education, Niamh Breathnach, when resources were tighter and the Celtic tiger was growing, remains as a lonely project in giving poorer children a head start.

Fund-raising for primary schools is a long established and even cherished tradition in this country. Ambitious boards of management and parents’ associations hold Christmas fairs, Easter fairs and race nights — name it and they do it — to improve their children’s access to the best education possible. This fund-raising, which has been an important bonding element [155]for school communities down the decades, is meant to be for extras such as computers, sports facilities, gardens, music, landscaping school grounds and so on. Some years ago, the Taoiseach spoke of his admiration for Mr. Robert Putnam, the author of Bowling Alone, and about the need to create social connections and social capital in an increasingly alienated society. In many ways, fund-raising by school communities is almost a model of that type of social community, but for the Minister to rely on the social capital of school communities for fund-raising for essential expenses is to abuse the endless goodwill of parents, never mind the burden it imposes on school principals.

Since the Minister took control of the Department of Education and Science, school principals are busier as they cope with the never-ending increase in the mountain of paperwork that she has instructed her Department to demand of them. Just as drowning schools in paperwork is becoming less fashionable in the UK because of the time it takes away from teaching and learning, our Department decided that this paper chase would be a fabulous way of slowing down demands for educational resources so that principals, teachers and boards are left chasing extensions. How does the Minister expect principals and boards of management to fund-raise to meet core expenses when they are already too busy dealing with the paperwork for special needs applications for children, not to mention the section 29 appeals by parents who cannot get their children into local schools because there are not enough places to cater for those in the thousands of houses that have been built in growing areas such as my constituency of Dublin West? I called on the Minister to sit down with all of the parties involved in education in areas such as Dublin West and to plan how to best use resources to give all of our children a head start in education.

The situation of school planning, site acquisition and budgetary provision can only be described as a dog’s dinner. Schools that have been promised extensions, such as St. Brigid’s in Beechpark in Castleknock, have been dropped from the urgent list to some indefinite time in the future. At a time when the Minister expresses concern about a developing obesity crisis among school children, Castleknock Community College’s gymnasium, which has been promised for more than nine years by Fianna Fáil, seems to have disappeared from the urgent list.

Just as the building boom collapses and house building stops in Dublin West, the Minister and her Department refuse to discuss with local principals school enrolment requirements on a reasoned basis. Last year, the Minister presided over the late formation of two schools for international children only, one in Castleknock — Scoil Colm — and the Educate Together school in Balbriggan. Recently, the Minister sent copies of Diarmaid Ferriter’s biography of de Valera to schools around the country, but de Valera, Collins, James Connolly or Padraig Pearse could not have envisaged doing as the Minister has done, that is, “cherishing” our children so that newcomer and immigrant children would be kept apart from local Irish children in schools reserved for them only. Shame on the Minister for not having the courage to sit down and discuss this issue.

Just a few weeks ago, the Minister defied in the House the just demands of parents of autistic children for access to applied behaviour analysis. This week we learned that 17 schools are waiting for the Minister and her counterpart in the Department of Health and Children to sort out resourcing for the special autism units in primary schools. Castleknock Educate Together, a fine school, is lying locked and empty.

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Not for want of educational resources.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Minister blames the board of management, the principal and the teachers.

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  All of the other 17 schools are open.

[156]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Minister is not a teenager and should take responsibility. As a Minister, she has led a charmed life in terms of promises for education. However, I have a feeling that her record is beginning to catch up with her. As economic horizons narrow, hard decisions must be made. Children should not be the soft targets of reducing expectations. The Labour Party’s proposal to double the capitation grant would cost only €82 million per year, less than 1% of the total education budget.

Deputy Mary Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  From where would the Deputy like us to get it?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  By increasing the education budget by just 1%, primary schools around the country could be put on a sound financial footing and parents, principals and teachers could concentrate on children learning. If parents wanted to fund-raise, it would be for extras, not necessities.

I am proud of what our teachers, boards of management, principals and parents are doing for children in the primary school education system. Some of the best and brightest in Ireland work in primary education. They deserve to be able to give our children the best and I am proud to commend this motion to the House on behalf of the Labour Party.

Amendment put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 57.

Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael. Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris.
Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán. Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank. Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael.
Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary. Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan. Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom. Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel.
Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory. Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary.
Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary. Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  




[157]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J. Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D. Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan. Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom.
Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P.J. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.  

Amendment declared carried.

Question put: “That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 57.

Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael. Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris.
Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán. Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank. Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael.
Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary. Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan. Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom. Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel.
Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory. Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary.
Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary. Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  


Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J. Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D. Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan. Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom.
Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P.J. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Tom Kitt and John Curran; Níl, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe

Question declared carried.


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