Dáil Éireann - Volume 666 - 05 November, 2008

Written Answers. - Departmental Expenditure.

Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science his views in relation to a submission (details supplied) which expresses anger and frustration at the budget 2009 cuts in relation to his Department; his plans to overcome the problems as outlined in the submission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38644/08]

Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science his views in relation to a submission (details supplied); the actions proposed to address the matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38645/08]

  Deputy Batt O’Keeffe: I propose to take Questions Nos. 365 and 366 together.

I am aware of the concerns referred to by the Deputy. The 2009 Budget required difficult choices to be made across all areas of public expenditure. These decisions were made to control public expenditure and to ensure sustainability in the long run. In this respect Education while protected to a much greater extent than most other areas of public expenditure could not be totally spared.

We are dealing with an economic situation of unprecedented difficulty. The Government has a collective duty to respond to this and to take very difficult decisions in the national interest. In doing this we have attempted to afford some shelter to the education sector but given the scale of public expenditure on education it is simply not possible to avoid tough decisions. I [281] fully accept that these decisions are not of themselves desirable and that they can only be justified by the imperative of securing the future economic stability of the country. I have called for cooperation from all the education partners in meeting the challenges facing us both as an education community and as a country.

I am confident that as the global economy improves it will be possible to build again on the significant achievements of recent years and do so in a manner consistent with overall prudent management of the Irish economy.