3 February 2016
By David O’Sullivan
Speaking in support of today’s TUI strike, Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that there was an onus on the Minister for Education to return to talks with the union and for the incoming government to address the concerns raised by teachers and lecturers about the process to establish technological universities.
The Cork North Central TD and Sinn Fein Education spokesman told TheCork.ie;
“There are over 4,000 lecturers and researchers on strike today and they are supported by the Union of Students in Ireland.
“Sinn Féin have consistently warned against the austerity policies being implemented by Labour Minister Jan O’Sullivan that saw the Institute of Technology sector funding cut by 35% and staff numbers decrease while student numbers rise.
“Since Christmas, the Minister and her department attempted to ram through complex legislation to establish technological universities which is more about rationalisation and cutbacks than it is about providing a decent standard of education for students and failed to address a range of substantial concerns.
“Staff in precarious employment deserve to have their concerns addressed and students deserve to be taught in lecture halls that are not overcrowded by staff who are not overworked.
“The Minister for Education must engage meaningfully with the trade unions, and that must entail more than tokenistic briefing sessions by Departmental officials, and the same applies to the incoming government.
“If any technological universities project is to succeed it has to be resourced accordingly and cannot be used as an excuse to implement further austerity policies on staff and students.”