Mass meeting plans national protest against DEIS school cuts

Date:

Approximately 200 people – INTO staff representatives and school principals – from across Dublin attended a packed meeting in the Teachers’ Club on Thursday 2nd February and agreed plans for an escalation of the campaign against the staffing cuts announced in DEIS schools in December’s budget.

The meeting heard that while Minister Quinn, in the face of a massive campaign of opposition from the entire school communities of DEIS schools – which included a protest of approx 6,000 people on 19th January (see http://www.wsm.ie/c/deis-schools-massive-protest) – had announced that the cuts were a ‘mistake’, there had as yet been no announcement of a reversal of the cuts.

The protests that had taken place to date were described as ‘a tremendous example of self-organisation’.  It was noted that when people had come to the last large meeting held on this topic in mid-December they hadn’t just come to give out but had gone away from the meeting to organise their school communities both to partake in an intensive lobbying of Labour and Fine Gael TDs and to participate in the large protest.

There was considerable discussion at the meeting about the fact that people were delighted to see that other groups such as the school communities in small schools have also been getting organised to fight the threatened staffing cuts to their schools.  Several speakers expressed the view that the INTO leadership should organise a national protest which would unite all school communities to resist staffing cuts and cuts to Special Needs services etc.

Unfortunately the meeting wasn’t in a position to organise such a national protest but it was agreed that we would press ahead with organising a protest of all DEIS schools from around the country for Thursday 23rd February.  This protest will take the form of a rally outside Dáil Éireann in Dublin to coincide with rallies in other cities in which DEIS schools are situated – Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway. 

The overwhelming view of the meeting was that all cuts should be resisted and that we should support and encourage protests from the communities of small schools and that we should resist attempts to split us and to pitch us against each other in a competition to see which sector would have to take staffing cuts.

Over the next two weeks Labour and Fine Gael TDs will once again be lobbied intensively to be left in no uncertain terms that all cuts must be reversed.  Local school meetings will be held and plans put together for what promises to be an even bigger protest than the last one.  The school communities are determined that the good work of DEIS schools will not be destroyed in the interest of paying off the gambling debts of financiers and developers and that our children will not be forced to shoulder even more of the burden of the financial crisis.

So make the placards and book the buses.  DEIS school communities are on the march again – Thursday 23rd February, 3:30pm. Dáil Éireann & around the country

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