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Support for parents protest

category donegal | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Wednesday December 10, 2003 19:06author by cf - Labourauthor email head_office at labour dot ie Report this post to the editors

Labour supports the decision of parents to withdraw their children from the rat infested Gortahork National School.

Labour Party Education Spokesperson, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan, has called on Minister Noel Dempsey to “address immediately the dire conditions facing staff and students at Gortahork National School in North West Donegal.” Deputy O’Sullivan made her plea as parents prepared to withdraw the 119 children from classes at midday today in protest at the lack of action to combat rat infestation and sewerage problems at the school.

Deputy O’Sullivan commented, “I fully support the decision of parents to withdraw their children from the school. Despite having to suffer raw sewage in the playground and being infested with rats, Gortahork National School does not even feature on the Department of Education’s list for improvements on school buildings.

“In fact, this astonishing oversight meant that staff, students and parents were forced to raise their own money to fund a new prefab where children could be taught in relative comfort.

“And the story gets worse: The response to a report that showed raw sewage spilling into the playground at high tide resulting in high levels of e-coli, was to advise school authorities to wash down the yard with water.

“This is totally unacceptable. Noel Dempsey must explain why this school is not on the school buildings programme. He must outline precisely what criteria he is using to place schools on the list, if a school in such a state does not merit a place on it.

“Health and safety concerns for staff and students in all our schools have to be the priority. Minister Dempsey talks tough on tackling educational disadvantage – by intervening here, he has an opportunity to prove he means what he says.”

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