Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue will address a major national conference on education policy this weekend. Fianna Fáil members, TDs, Senators, Councillors and education experts from across the country will attend the event at in Salthill, Co Galway on Saturday, 23 June 2012.
The conference, entitled Developing a Policy Agenda, will focus on tackling mental health issues among children and young adults, developing quality early education and childcare and protecting small rural schools.
Deputy McConalogue said today: “Protecting investment in education and providing equal access to quality education for all citizens is a top priority for Fianna Fáil. This conference will focus on how best we can address the needs of our young people, the needs of young families and the needs of our communities in Donegal and across the country as we work to restore growth.
“This conference will bring together experts in the areas of early education and childcare, mental health and primary education. We will debate proposals on achieving more affordable childcare for families and equal access to early education.
“Delegates will also discuss the increasing prevalence of mental health problems among children of all ages and how our education system can address these issues. We will also debate the threats to the future of small rural schools in parts of the country, particularly Donegal, and how the system can ensure strong small schools that remain at the heart of their communities.”
The guest speakers at the event will include Avril Sweeney of the Donegal Childcare Committee, Sean Cottrell Director of the Irish Primary Principal’s Network, Caroline McGuigan, CEO of Suicide or Survive, Ciairín De Buis Director of Start Strong, and Tom Byrne Principal of Partry National School, Co Mayo.
“Each of the issues up for discussion at Saturday’s conference effects families and communities across Co Donegal,” said the Donegal deputy.
“People in this county feel particularly angry about the serious of broken promises from this Government and the targeted cuts to services in this region. They are worried about the future of our small schools and they know that this Government’s current policy will lead to forced amalgamations of small schools in Co Donegal.
“This conference is about figuring out a better way to do things. Fianna Fáil believes that educational advancement must be at the heart of Government policy if we are to restore growth and give our children a bright future at home in Ireland.”