1 June 2011
Parish of the Travelling People welcomes Ombudsman’s intervention for Traveller children
The priest of the country’s only Parish of Travelling People has urged the government to seriously reconsider cuts to resource teachers for Traveller children in the wake of concern expressed by the Ombudsman for Children this morning.
Fr. Derek Farrell, whose parish first tried to highlight this issue over two months ago, said they had no positive response to their pleas for a reversal to, or postponement of, the cuts. Today, the Parish said they hoped the voice of Emily Logan, who also spoke out on behalf of Traveller children, would help lead to a reversal of this decision.
Fr. Farrell said, clearly the Ombudsman recognises that these blunt cuts will, in effect, mean Traveller children will be more disadvantaged educationally than before.
Of the 1200 resource posts that are due to be cut by the end of this month, almost 800 are in Traveller Education at Primary and Post Primary level.
“As we said last March this is clearly an issue of fairness and justice,” said Fr. Farrell, “How is it possible that two thirds of the cutbacks in the area of Resource and Visiting Teachers are targeted at Traveller children? These include many children who have benefitted enormously from resource teaching to date, but who are at serious risk of dropping back or dropping out of education if that extra help is pulled from them. “
Speaking on Morning Ireland this morning, Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan highlighted the cuts in resource teachers as an example of what she called a “poor choice in education”. She said the number of teachers cut in traveller education (773 out of 1200) was disproportionate and she said that with competing interests for resources, we need to be careful about slashing or cutting budgets by a certain percentage and that more information should be gathered and a child impact analysis was needed.
– The Parish of the Travelling People, established in the Archdiocese of Dublin is one of only two parishes in Europe with specific pastoral responsibility of its kind.
– The Parish has been working with local teachers, along with and the Crosscare Traveller Inclusion Programme, to highlight the issue of the cuts in Resource and Visiting Teachers for Travellers.
– The Department of Education contribution to the National Recovery Plan last November outlined “Withdrawal of Resource Teachers for Travellers posts at primary level and of equivalent teaching hours for Travellers at post-primary level. “
Archdiocese of Dublin Communications office 01 8360723 www.dublindiocese.ie