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Ruairí Quinn

Posted by Francis O' Toole on October 10, 2012

MARIE O’HALLORAN Irish Times

MINISTER FOR Education Ruairí Quinn has insisted no decisions have been made about State funding for fee-paying schools in the forthcoming budget.

He said, however, that “the Cabinet must examine all available options”.

The Minister was responding to Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Charlie Flanagan and backbencher Eoghan Murphy, who both sharply criticised Labour Minister of State Alan Kelly for remarks he made about potential cuts in funding to private schools.

Mr Kelly said on RTÉ that “the day of being able to give €96 million to €100 million for private schools is something that is going to come to an end”.

Mr Flanagan claimed public debate on the issue had been “shrouded in claims of elitism and privilege and a false perception exemplified by the comments of Minister of State Kelly” that parents who sacrificed to send their children to fee-paying schools “can afford to pay more and more so the State can pay less and less”.

Mr Murphy said a Minister “is able to fly a kite on a particular issue yet new Government deputies are being shut out of the process completely”.

He called for a broader debate in the Dáil on the budgetary process and among the public so that “people will not be misinformed about what the Government is thinking”.

Mr Flanagan expressed particular concern about the protection of special block funding of €6.5 million to 26 Protestant fee-paying schools in 12 counties because of the “need to cherish the plurality of educational expression”.

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