Sinn Féin TD Johnny Guirke has hit out at the shortage of teachers in the county.
He told Meath Live, “There is a growing teacher shortage in Meath that must be addressed immediately. This crisis requires urgent action. Children cannot be expected to keep paying the price for government failure to plan and to act.
“The results of a recent survey carried out by the INTO, IPPN and CPSMA today reveal the shocking situation facing schools in Meath and across the state.
“Too many schools are struggling to find the teachers they need to have fair class sizes and deliver the education that children deserve.
“It is not acceptable that schools are being forced into plugging staffing gaps by redeploying special education teachers to cover for absent teachers in mainstream classes.
“This is leaving the most vulnerable pupils without the essential support they need and the education they are entitled to. The Minister must clearly outline to parents and school leaders how she intends to address the “unprecedented” shortfall of more than 800 vacant teaching posts across primary classes in the state.
“Despite the continuous pronouncements from Government, our schools remain under resourced, lacking the necessary investment and have some of the largest class sizes in Europe.“Each of the issues highlighted by the survey, including the lack of affordable housing in urban areas, or teachers taking up posts abroad because of the contracts on offer here, are the direct result of decisions made by successive governments. The Minister must outline what she intends to do in the short and medium term to address this unacceptable situation of staff shortages in general and particularly in areas of disadvantage, special schools and Gaelscoileanna.
“Let’s be clear, this crisis is happening because of this government’s failure to get to grips with the housing crisis. Under Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, teachers are simply unable to afford to rent or buy near their work. Every day that this government remains in office, the situation is becoming worse. Sinn Féin in government would get to grips with the housing crisis and deliver genuinely affordable homes in Meath and across the state.
“Government failure to invest in schools and tackle the housing crisis cannot continue. It’s time for change.”