LABOUR HAS A PROVEN RECORD OF STANDING UP FOR EQUALITY IN EDUCATION – HUMPHREYS

22 February 2016

I’m delighted to be master of ceremonies here today.

The electorate now have a clear choice – do they want Labour back in Government to ensure a fairer, more equal and progressive Ireland or do they want turmoil?

Fianna Fail are trying to pull a con job on the electorate because they are not making clear who they will go into Government with.

This is the party that destroyed our economy and did immense damage to our society.

Over 14 years in Government they dragged their feet on any social change.

Over the last 5 years we have shown how you bring your coalition partners with you.

In the last General Election people doubted we could pass X case legislation and Marriage Equality, but we delivered.

Labour has a proven record of standing up for Equality in education. Take my own constituency.

This Educate Together School was delivered in the last five years and we will build a permanent home for them in the next term if re-elected.

We are doubling the size of Griffith Barracks Multi denominational school with a new school building.

We are working with the Terenure Educate Together start up group in Dublin 6 west to deliver a new school for that area through divestment.

The Basin lane Educate together grew out of the Portobello community and their desire for change and choice, and we delivered a new school through divestment.

Under our leadership there was a 43% increase in the number of non-denominational schools.

If returned to government we will double that number again.

A new primary school is due to open on Harcourt Terrace in the old Garda Station. 24 classrooms and a special needs unit.

We have ensured that a new 1000 pupil second level school will open in 2018 to serve the south city area. The campaign is already underway to ensure that an Educate Together school.

It’s often surprising now to see lots politicians joining the cause for parental choice in education but where were they 15, 10 even 5 years ago?

Labour has always been in the vanguard of social change in this country.

We want to amend the Equal Status Act to allow children attend their local school irrespective of their religion. It’s time to end the practise of parents having to baptise their child to get a school place.

In publicly funded schools, the first criteria for admissions should be the local catchment area, not the religion of a 4 year old.

But parents must also have choice and that is why we will increase the number of multidenominational schools by 100 over the next 5 years.

The key question is – do people take a bet on Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein or Independents who are promising the sun moon and stars but have no intention of going into Government.

Or do they support Labour – we have a proven track record of delivering change.  

Who will amend the equal status act and end the practise of baptism to get a school palce?

Who will ensure we double the number of multidenominational schools?

Who will publish a White Paper building on the report of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism to set out long-term policy in this area?

Who will ensure we improve literacy and numeracy skills?

Who will ensure we invest in area based childhood programmes like we did in the Docklands?

Who will ensure every child has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential in a tolerant and progressive society?

Labour will.

There is a clear choice in this election for stable and balanced Government or else the chaos of the opposition benches.

We are asking people to vote Labour to ensure that change keep’s happening.

We cannot risk another 20 years of inaction on the serious and difficult issues confronting our society.

ENDS

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