Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 692 No. 2

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  659.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   if he has quantified the full extent of education cutbacks on primary, second level or third level education at a time when the importance of education is being emphasised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37519/09]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  Details of the expenditure adjustments made to the Education Vote in the context of budget 2009 (October 2008) and the 2009 Supplementary Budget (April, 2009) were made available at that time. Copies of the documents that issued are available to the Deputy.

The renewed programme for Government provides for a number of specific measures in the education sector including a commitment to no further increase in the pupil teacher ratio for the lifetime of the Government, 500 teaching posts over the next three years, funding for 28 additional psychologist posts, standard capitation grants to schools being maintained and an extra allocation being made available to schools for needs such as book rental schemes and curricular activities.

  660.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   the opinions he sought prior to the introduction of budgetary cutbacks in the educational sector; if he had been fully appraised of the expected permanent negative damage arising from these cuts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37520/09]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  The 2009 budget required difficult choices to be made across all areas of public expenditure. The Government took these decisions to control public expenditure and to ensure sustainability in the long run.

In this respect education expenditure, while protected to a much greater extent than most other areas of public expenditure, could not be totally spared. I fully accept that while these decisions were not of themselves desirable they were necessary in securing the future economic stability of the country.

As is the case with the finalisation of the Estimates and budget each year, these decisions were taken following careful consideration of all the relevant issues by the Government.

I am pleased that the revised programme for Government emphasises the continued priority of education investment in the overall context of the Estimates and budgetary process.


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