Principal blasts Keating leaflet

by Gazette Reporter

A LOCAL principal has slammed a leaflet distributed by a local TD as “gross cynical opportunism”.
Residents in Lucan South last week received a leaflet from Fine Gael TD Derek Keating that outlined what he has “delivered” for the people of Lucan.
Amongst the list was news of a school expansion at Griffeen Valley Educate Together – an inclusion that has angered that school’s principal, Tomas O’Dulaing.
In an open letter to Deputy Keating, O’Dulaing said that he had not assisted in the expansion plans whatsoever.
“You never once contacted our school, Griffeen Valley, in relation to our forthcoming school extension,” says O’Dulaing’s letter.
“Neither did anybody from our board of management or staff contact you or seek your assistance in relation to the extension. You had absolutely nothing to do with this development, and yet you distribute a leaflet in the Lucan area claiming to have ‘initiated, led and delivered’ this extension.
“This is nothing but gross cynical opportunism on your behalf, which I find objectionable and depressing.”
O’Dulaing added that Deputy Keating had attended a meeting at the school, where he met special needs students and their parents.
“In the last two years [since Fine Gael and Labour came to power] our school has lost four and a half Special Needs Assistants for these vulnerable children, and has seen the allocation of one-to-one resource-teaching hours for these children reduced by 15%.
“I recall, Derek, that you shook your head in shame when parents outlined to you the manner in which the devastating cuts you had voted for were having on the lives of their children. Neither the school, nor those parents, heard from you after that meeting.”
The letter adds that the school has lost three English-language teachers in the past two years.
“Derek, these losses are two very tangible things that you have delivered for the children in our school and for our community in Lucan.
“Can I respectfully remind you that you have voted for every single cutback that you and your colleagues in Fine Gael and Labour have put through [the Dail]?
“I am sure you would be interested to know the cumulative effect of those votes by you and your colleagues, and how those same votes have impacted upon the lives of people in our community.
“At a broader, national level, you and your colleagues have delivered an increase of at least 40,000 children living in poverty in our country – something which is profoundly shameful. Derek, you have also delivered austerity in its billions [of euro] for ordinary people, with catastrophic effect.”
O’Dulaing, who is the chair of the Alliance against Cutbacks in Education, said that his own letter was not meant as a personal attack on Deputy Keating, but took aim at his leaflet.
“Nothing in this open letter, Derek, is intended to question your integrity, or to attack you personally. I’m sure you believe in what you are doing in Leinster House.
“However, I respectfully suggest that the ‘Derek is delivering’ leaflet is an example of the kind of political cynicism that seems to infect many of our politicians when they join the ranks of our political elite in Dail Eireann.”
Deputy Keating was contacted in relation to this matter and declined to comment.

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