People may know that I’ve been a member of Fine Gael for a few years now. I’ve tried to be a good boy and go to meetings, selection conventions, and I’ve even gone out canvassing for my local TD and county councillor.
Well I’ve decided to resign from FG. This decision didn’t come quickly, but it has become inevitable over the past few weeks and months.
Why, and why now?
For a while I accepted the idea of Austerity. I accepted the idea that the country was broke, and that we all had to take a hit in order to get ourselves out of the mess that we were now in. That’s a philosophy I no longer subscribe to.
The cuts have been brutal beyond anything imagined, and have been applied in the most clumsy manner possible. The government have used very blunt instruments. For example, the moratorium on employment within the health service is causing an incredible amount of distress for patients and staff.
Think it through. As people retire, they are not replaced, thereby putting more pressure on the ones who are left, making them more likely to retire or just look for something different. This leaves the remaining employees under ever more increased pressure.
Ask anyone who has had to wait on a trolly, wait for an appointment, or wait for a doctor who hasn’t slept in 30 hours to find a vein for an injection.
What has been done to those who depend on the services of the health system is brutal. The conditions forced upon many of the doctors and nurses are inhumane.
My personal area of experience is within education.
Schools are being decimated. Something that is really hitting this year is the decision in budget 2013 to make careers guidance counsellors part of the teacher allocation of the school. (Wha?) Previously, secondary schools were entitled to have a career guidance counsellor. Following the budget this changed. Now if a school wants to keep its guidance counsellor then it must lose a teacher. Or, it can keep class sizes the same but have no guidance counsellor.
Why is this important? There are now so many college courses, and subject choices available that students need good advice in order to make the best choices possible. Who’s the expert in this? (Rhetorical question, of course) But this is not the only area that these counsellors are trained in. They also do valuable counselling work with students, and trust me on this, there are a lot of needs out there.
I’ve written previously on other cuts in education:
- Student / Teacher ratios
- Cuts to the National Educational Psychological Service
- Cuts to learning support
- Lack of Job Security for junior teachers
- The insult to new teachers of a different pay scale for them
- The removal of professional progression in the form of Posts
- The use of the ‘Job Bridge’ scheme to put teachers into a classroom for greatly reduced pay
- Enforced change to the Junior Cert
So, for a number of reasons, I can no longer in good conscience remain a member of Fine Gael. I have seen too much hurt imposed on too many people. I’ve seen people struggle with paying the basic bills even though they have ‘nice’ jobs. I’ve seen too many people left waiting for an appointment or a referral because there are now too many people who can’t afford health insurance.
Bye Bye. It’s not me. It’s you.
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Thank you John, I hope now you can really make a difference and let people know what is really going on in there.
Thanks for that Aron.
I know that I’m a small fish in a big pond, but what I’m trying to do is to be an advocate for education and to raise awareness about the wrongs being done. Hopefully there will be change before too many of our young people are disadvantaged.
Thank you John for your letter, I hope many more of your ex-colleagues reflect on their own areas as you have done. The damage done to education is particularly short sighted in that even if we do manage to improve matters in the coming years, the children now being left without services will never catch up, thus leaving us and them with a life time problem.
Also, as this Govt seems to be intent on getting our young people to emigrate, (again, a very short sighted tactic) the least we could do is ensure they are properly prepared for life abroad. I have a long time interest in the education area and these issues need to be addressed asap.
Thank you for your comment Elizabeth. It is indeed very short sighted to leave children at such a disadvantage – you are absolutely correct – they will have an uphill battle to catch up. I just hope that we can reverse some of these cuts, and I hope that the continued pressure from the ASTI will keep up the public’s awareness of the fundamental inequity of the current cuts in (attacks on) education
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