Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
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Dublin Opinion >>
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NAMA Wine Lake >>
Why I am writing to Ruairí Quinn.
Poor people are denied education through sneaky Labour cuts.
I want to seperate out what is becoming problematic in terms of Irish Coalition Partnerships for a minute
and focus on how those people who attain power actually begin to use it. For instance , the Irish Dáil is
a place where ideology (of whatever flavour) is not an issue when entering into what we fondly term a junior
coalition partnership/ relationship with a majority party (JCP). it doesn't matter a bit, no political party , whatever
their stripe goes into poor areas and asks for votes , because they (and especially the Labour party) do not
care to know about poverty. It is invisible to them, and mostly at the moment in terms of access to education.
Ruairí making the column inches by ignoring poverty issues.
I want to look at Ruairí Quinn who is distinguishing himself on the spin front with his plans for
divestment (50%), whilst all the time his department is heightening education inequality in terms
1. Special needs assistants are being cut , while he lengthens his media column inches talking about an
ideology which quite clearly is not widely consultative and is mostly occurring through letters, claims,
opinionators and celebrity right-wing hacks (David Quinn) : Soundbyte Fianna Fáil policies.
Labour are not known for seeking votes in areas where there is poverty and social-alienation.
2. Back to school allowances are subject to some type of planned lottery and if parents do not receive
notification of them , they must apply (all on one day) to get the cheque, they ensure that poor kids
have actual shoes, uniforms and books. There will of course be a computer-jam on the day and
many kids will do without again this year.
3. Lone Parents allowances will be cut under an IMF deal over the next 5 years, ensuring those
in need at second-level will continue to be in need and surely enough leave school even earlier
under the Labour party.
50% divestment in catholic schools will not :
1. Effect those who will fee-pay to retain their catholic status, thus it will effect areas where
the Labour party do not seek votes . We will have privileged atheists or privileged religious
continuing the status quo.
2. Access to education is unaffected by a divestment vanity project which is being funded by Quinn's department
but access is effected by poverty issues, food issues, welfare and support issues.
3. Quinn's radicalising of education access is quite simply a tired Green-party vote-getter for privileged
parents who are unconcerned with poverty issues, because they effect 'other people'.
I am willing to state that the sum effect of divestment in education will be to ensure that those who
wish religious or non-religious education will get their desires and have something to chatter about.
and blithely ignoring Ruairí Quinn's Labour Party continuance of Fianna Fáil's aggressive cuts to building
programmes, to back to schools allowances, to care assistants and ultimately to access and equality
I also reckon that the yearly OECD report on Irish education will be scathing for 2010-2011 but it will
be neatly hidden by stupid rows about religion that carefully sustain a wealthy bunch of people who
care little for poverty and will (with or without religion) create another generation of unthinking drivelling
politicos and alienated poor.
The issue has never been about the irregular relationships between majority and JCP in our
coalitions but about continuing and copper-fastening Fianna Fáil policies, and these are quite
simply that poor people do not have the right to education under any government and silent
cuts will continue whilst Quinn blows hot-air out of his arse declaiming on divestment as a
cover for his attacks on the very poor.
So Is Minister Quinn going to ask people if they need their back to school allowances and college
grants or is he going to keep on abusing office by descending into using soundbyte to cover his
obvious failures ?