By Sarah Mac Donald - 04 November, 2014
The parish priest of Moyross in Limerick has made a heartfelt appeal for help in supporting a teaching post at his parish’s local primary school which the Department of Education has pulled the funding on.
Jesuit Fr Tony O’Riordan chairs the board of management of Corpus Christi primary school, which is located in a very disadvantaged area of the city.
On Monday he appealed to catholic parishes around the country to sell off any “dusty and unused gold” to help fund the teaching post at the school.
Corpus Christi has been forced to seek private funding to pay for the teaching post after Department of Education announced it was withdrawing its financial support for it just before last week’s mid-term break.
This meant that the school would have had to merge two junior infant classes in to one 32-pupil class.
According to Fr O’Riordan this would have left the merged class with a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:32 which is 50% over the Department of Education’s ratio for DEIS schools.
“How could that lead to anything other than poorer educational outcomes for these children?” he asked.
He explained that the school couldn’t allow that to happen and so it decided to hire a teacher privately.
The salary for the job is €30,000 and Corpus Christi is seeking a minimum of €20,000 through its appeal.
In comments to the Irish Examiner, the Jesuit said he would not give up lobbying the Department of Education to meet its responsibilities.
However, he added, “We will not let these children suffer education disadvantage if we can help it, and so we are appealing for help — we are asking that churches disposes of luxury goods to help us pay for an essential good.”
He continued, “I know that many families have been forced to sell some gold and jewellery in recent years just to make ends meet, and I know that the Church family up and down this country has many gold objects gathering dust, so I hope that those with charge of these goods might listen to this appeal and help us meet the needs of these disadvantaged children and give them an opportunity for their God-given gifts to flourish.”