Deputy Willie Penrose, Labour Leader Deputy Eamon Gilmore and Deputy Ruairi Quinn at the launch of our 'Just the Job' strategy.
Today we launched our priorities to deal with the unemployment crisis, 'Just the Job'. In the past year more than 173,000 have signed on the Live Register and the need for jobs and training opportunities has never been more acute.
Speaking at the launch Eamon said: "The more people who continue to lose their jobs, and the longer people stay on the live register, the more expenditure in other areas will have to be cut to pay for it.
The weekend protests where tens of thousands of people from all over Ireland took to the streets of the capital to show people's continuing anger at the serious cutbacks hitting our education sector.
There was a large number of Labour members and representatives at the demonstration including our Education Spokesperson Ruairi Quinn TD.
Speaking about the demonstration Ruairi said: "Saturday's protest was a great show of opposition to Batt O'Keeffe's cutbacks. It is not very often that we see such a large number of people protest against a government cutback. The sense of anger against the increases in class size, against the abolition of grants, against the targeting of our children to pay for this government's mishandling of the economy, was palpable.
Thousands and thousands of teachers, parents and students took to the streets last night in the biting cold and rain to protest against the education cutbacks contained in the Budget.
Inside Leinster House deputies were debating the Labour Party Private Members' Motion which seeks the reversal of the cuts.
Our Education Spokesperson Ruairi Quinn led the debate last night and you can see his contribution in the accompanying You Tube clip and read his speech in our media centre here. There are also a few photographs from the large protest on our Flickr photo stream and our poll asking if class sizes should be going down instead of up is still running; you can vote here.
One of the many savage cuts in the recent Budget concerns education and in particular class sizes.
As recently as last year, Fianna Fail promised that class sizes would be reduced from 27 to 24 over the next three years, but instead, thanks to this budget, they been increased to 28!
Children, parents and educator in every school right across the country are rightly concerned about this, which is why we in Labour have decided to use our time in the Dail next week to put forward a motion urging the Govt to reverse this crazy plan.
Deputies Jan O'Sullivan, Ruairi Quinn (Education Spokesperson) and Roisin Shortall at the USI protest
It was great to see the students of Ireland come out today and march against the reintroduction of third level fees. I was also impressed with the support they gave to those whose medical cards have been wrongly taken away by the government. We saw a fine example of solidarity today - across the generations and from all sides of the community. All were united against the mean-spirited cutbacks of this government.
This week we have launched a major campaign encouraging young people and students to get involved in the Labour Party. Stands are been set up in colleges around the country with information about Labour, Labour Youth and our campaign to stop the re-introduction of fees.
The Labour Party abolished third level fees while in Government in the early 90s and our members played a leading role on both campuses and in the Dáil to stop their reintroduction in 2003. This campaign was successful and saw a major climb down by the government parties. More recently Labour Youth has spear headed the campaign against the re-introduction of fees organising a protest outside the Department of Education in co-operation with the Union of Students in Ireland.
"Why should charging fees for primary schools be seen as beyond the pale, but charging fees for third-level be seen, in some quarters, as pragmatic?
"Is it not important that our education system allows our citizens to progress as far as their talent will take them, and that there should be arbitraty cap on their knowledge? our Education Spokesperson Ruairi Quinn TD asks in an opinion piece published in today's Irish Times on the announcement this week that the Minister for Education is considering the reintroduction of third-level fees. The full article is available to read on the Irish Times website.
"The Labour Party will oppose tooth and nail any plans by the Government to reintroduce fees for third-level education," Labour's Education Spokesperson Ruairi Quinn TD said this morning in response to the confirmation that the Department of Education is considering reintroducing fees.
The abolition of third-level fees opened up our university sector to tens of thousands of students from low and middle income families. It would be short sighted and short-termist to respond to the third-level funding crisis by imposing what would essentially be a tax on those hoping to get a degree.
Speaking back in May at a public meeting in Blanchardstown, the Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD reiterated the importance of the abolition of third-level fees calling it "one of Labour's most significant achievements in Government".
"One of the first things that strikes you about primary schools in Ireland today are the prefabs. The clutter of prefabs in the school yard, the prefab extension or sometimes the entire school is a prefab," the Labour Leader Deputy Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil this morning. He was raising the issue of prefabs, school buildings and the downturn in the construction sector during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil this morning.
Addressing the Chamber Eamon explained how our Spokesperson on Education, Ruairi Quinn TD, has been denied information on the number of prefabs in use in our primary schools. Up until recently Deputy Quinn has been told the information has not been available to the department.
Last night saw the first of two evenings' debate in the Dáil on a Labour Party motion seeking extended Dáil sittings over the summer period.
This issue was also raised during Leader's Questions yesterday afternoon and the Private Members' Motion was kicked off by Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD.
"This country has serious problems. As I stand here tonight, we are facing profound challenges. Each of them serious on its own and demanding urgent attention. Coming together, they make it unthinkable that this House would abandon its duty to meet in public session for the next three months," Eamon told the house.