The strands that have helped to weave the ‘new Irish’ into the education system will unravel if the Government implements its Budget 2009 cutbacks, a Waterford primary school principal has warned.

Mercy Primary School Principal, Maria Doyle, said the education landscape had been radically altered by schools’ commitments to both special education and inclusion.

“I have over 140 children between the junior and senior sections of my school and these children are here to stay,” she said, referring to the international students that have been integrated into the modern Irish classroom.

“They have been assimilated extremely well into the community and I would suggest that one of the main reasons why we haven’t ghettoised anyone is because we have included the children so well in our education system and we’ve given them language support.”

The removal of English language teachers from the classroom is one of 12 cuts in education which the INTO has dubbed the ‘dirty dozen’.

“The one thing that includes us all is language and that very thing is now going to be taken away from those children. And my fear would be that we would end up like France where you have rioting on the streets because we have ghettoised people that have come to our country and now find themselves without having basic communication skills.”

Ms Doyle said that language support of this kind was essential in particular for those children who were returning to homes each evening where neither parent speaks English.