Kirk calls for U-turn

Fianna Fáil Deputy Seamus Kirk has called for a full reversal of the Government’s Budget decision to dismantle the provision of guidance counsellors at secondary school.

Fianna Fáil Deputy Seamus Kirk has called for a full reversal of the Government’s Budget decision to dismantle the provision of guidance counsellors at secondary school.

He said this will result in the loss of guidance counsellors at secondary schools in mid-Louth and across the county.

He said the Dáil will vote on Wednesday on a Fianna Fáil motion condemning the Budget measure.

“This will amount to an increase in class sizes at second level,” Deputy Kirk said.

“Minister Quinn has already admitted that he is out of practice and made mistakes in last month’s budget. It is now time for him to realise that removing the special provision for guidance counsellors at second level is one of them. This is an increase in class sizes through the back door and will result in 700 secondary schools around the country losing qualified guidance counsellors.

“Under Minister Quinn’s plans, all secondary schools in Louth and across the country will now be forced to include guidance counsellors within their current teacher allocation. Make no mistake about it; this is a cut to teacher numbers and an increase in class sizes. It means that schools will now be forced to choose between either cutting their guidance counsellor service or dropping another subject, leading to a reduced subject choice. It is a lose-lose situation all around.

“Guidance counsellors provide a critical service in encouraging students to choose appropriate education and career pathways and also offer advice and support relating to a range of personal issues. They are professionally trained to provide far more than career advice, with most guidance counsellors acting as a support to more vulnerable students.

“I am urging Minister Quinn to do the right thing and acknowledge that this is a particularly damaging mistake that must be reversed. Government TDs will tonight have the opportunity to stand up for their local schools levels and class sizes.”