The vigil has been arranged by Fr John Joe Duffy and Rev John Deane who are hoping similar vigils will take place across the county during general voting on Thursday.
The action is being taken by the Save Our Schools Campaign.
SOSC is a community based action group, formed as a resulted of meetings between, teachers, parents, Rev.Deane and Fr.Duffy, representing Protestant and Catholic Boards of Managements and their respective faiths.
It has come into being in response to what we perceive to be the Government’s ruthless attack on rural, disadvantaged and minority faith schools. Nowhere in Ireland is this attack more keenly felt than in Donegal.
“Over 3,000 of you, from all over our county, marched in public with us in Letterkenny. On Thursday please join us again in a ‘Vigil’ at your nearest School Polling Station from 3pm to 4pm.
“Children and their schools have been severely hit by rural DEIS cuts, learning support, resource cuts, changes in pupil/teacher ratios, the end of minor works and summer work schemes and the lack of capital investment in schools that need new buildings and extensions, cuts in capitation grants( that pays for the day to day running of schools). Parents are going to be left to pick up the tab for these cuts.
“They may be required to help pay for their children’s education more and more. When schools will have to amalgamate, parents will also be left with the cost of transporting their children to schools further away from their area of residence. Parents are already paying for 60% of school transport,” said a statement on behalf of the two clergymen.
Minister Quinn gave a strong commitment to engage with the group, when he was recently met by both Father John Joe Duffy and Jennifer Hanlon during his visit to Letterkenny .
He said that he would meet the group and look at what will be the best way forward for rural schools.
“We are asking the parents of county Donegal to organise and attend these vigils so as to give us a strong mandate and a strong hand to negotiate with the minister.
“The success of these vigils will put us in a strong position. We need parents to organise and participate.
“Several sources have indicated that the education budget next year is going to be very severe. We now need to protect our chilren’s future and give them the best education. That can be done only with investment from our Government in education. We need to secure their future.
“We need to prioritise investment in education such as Finland did during their recession. They now have one of the finest education systems in the world. We need to secure a good future for our children and that cannot be achieved in an education system that a minister is reforming by draconian austerity.
“The recent decisions made by the minister took place from the top down and there was an absolute failure to engage with the stakeholders at local level. They failed to engage with parents, teachers, boards of management, and schools in any meaningful way. We are now hopeful for that level of engagement.
“We need the presence of parents, teachers and members of the general public, outside the school gates reminding the government that they need to Prioritise Education Investment Now and protect education, protect the future of our children. 3pm to 4 pm on 31st May is going to be a key moment in the fight for our children’s future and the future of our schools. We do recognise the financial difficulties of our country but feel that our children’s education should be safeguarded and protected.”
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