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Fianna Fáil Leader and Tánaiste, Micheál Martin visited the East Cork town of Youghal on Friday last to visit three local secondary and primary schools.
During Friday’s visit, the issue of DEIS (Delivering Equality of opportunity In Schools) funding was a prominent item on the agenda for the Tánaiste and the schools, as only one primary school (South Abbey National School) was issued DEIS funding following an appeal to the Department of Education in 2022.
Youghal local and Cork East Fianna Fáil TD, James O’Connor welcomed the visit of An Tánaiste:
The Tánaiste’s visit is vitally important to push for further funding for DEIS in the Department of Education. It is a wonderful programme that supports thousands of children get access to hot school meals, additional learning supports and a reduced pupil-teacher ratio. I know that the Tánaiste will raise these matters, brought to his attention by the staff and Board of Managements of Pobalscoil na Trionóide, Gaelscoil Chorain and Bunscoil Mhuire, with Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD and her Department on the shortfall that children around Youghal are continuing to receive.
Under the 2022 expansion of the DEIS programme, an additional 322 schools were included nationally in a €32 million expansion of the programme.
Deputy O’Connor continued:
Unfortunately in Youghal, the Pobal HP Deprivation calculation index is not reflective of the socio-economic situation as many people move to Youghal later in life to retire by the coast. We are hopeful in the future that Department would re-consider a more student focused needs assessment to award DEIS status to the schools.
Our education system rightly places a strong emphasis on equal opportunity for everyone, no matter their background, and this is something I very strongly support, as does the Tánaiste. I want to commend all those who have worked on finalising the new model as well as those who continue to work every day to support and empower young people through education. And finally, I would like to thank all the school for their co-operation in organising events for An Tánaiste during his visit.