Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, was told of huge parent anxiety about education cutbacks in Waterford when he visited Tramore recently. The Minister was officially opening the new Meeting Place Child Centre in the town.

Local Councillor Joe Conway said he made use of the occasion to have a discussion with the Minister and he left him in no doubt about the concerns of people in Tramore with the negative effects of the Budget.

In particular, he said, he stressed three items: the onslaught of the cutbacks on education; the universal right to medical cards at 70; and the effect of cutbacks on personal security and anti-social behaviour in the stringencies applying to Garda resources and overtime.

“I reminded Minister Lenihan that the successful implementation of the Revised Primary Curriculum is recognised to be predicated on class sizes of 20 or less”, said Cllr Conway. “Anything above that was lip service and placed us at a disadvantage with our OECD comparators and at an economic disadvantage in the years ahead.

“In relation to the universal right to GMS cards at 70, I agreed that some row-back had been achieved, but that tens of thousands of very vulnerable people in the winter of their years were marginally over the new threshold. These were frugal, hard-working people all their lives who were now being set-upon for their prudence.

“I reminded the Minister that for families in Tramore, as elsewhere, personal safety and security were extremely important. We needed to be able to live good quality lives, free from intrusion, drugs or fear. I told him that I was shocked to hear that Garda resources were to be pared back in some areas.

“Before he left, I presented him with a briefing paper that comprehensively set out the concerns of people locally. He took the document and promised to give it his attention”.