Sinn Fein’s pre-Budget 2015 proposal to withdraw private school subsidy would jeopardise 1,500 jobs and cost millions

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has strongly criticised Sinn Féin’s pre budget proposal to withdraw the private school subsidy over five years on the grounds that this move will put 1,500 jobs at risk and cost the state tens of millions per year.

“Sinn Féin claim that by withdrawing the private school subsidy over five years, €20.6 million will be saved. In reality five schools have moved from the private to the public stream in recent years adding over €10 million in annual running costs and capital expenditure to the Government balance sheet.

“There are currently seven additional private schools who are considering integrating into the public stream and this would mean a total cost of over €25 million per year to the state. With 53 fee-paying schools in the country, it is clear that while withdrawing the state subsidy may save some money in the short term, this will only be small change in comparison to the additional bills the taxpayer would have to meet in the longer term.

“Fee paying schools support 1,500 jobs across the country. If private schools were integrated into the public system, the state would have to pay to employ additional teachers and this is another bill that would have to be paid.

“I have been clear on my view of fee paying schools; I openly support choice for parents. But from a financial point of view, Sinn Féin’s figures just don’t add up. Their plan reinforces their position as a high tax, anti-jobs party; it is nothing but populist and it is extremely short sighted. They have failed to account for the long term costs that this measure would bring onto the taxpayer.

“Numerous holes have been found in Sinn Féin’s budget proposals and this is just another that shows Sinn Féin is a party willing to make rash and misjudged decisions that would put the economic recovery at risk.”

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