A top Waterford based trade union official has described the education cuts in the budget as “the gravest injustice of all”.

Marie Butler, Branch Organiser with SIPTU Waterford, called on the government to spare itself the indignity of another climbdown by announcing their immediate withdrawal.

The attack on the over 70’s by way of the medical card announcement and on the lowest paid workers by the imposition of the 1% levy were gross injustices, she said, showing a complete disregard for the struggle that retired and working families faced in attempting to make ends meet.

“However”, she went on, “it is the attack on class sizes that is the gravest injustice of all, because it shows a complete lack of regard for the future development of our people. It does nothing to ensure that our children and grandchildren can have better futures and denies the youngest in our society the right to be educated at their pace.

“It does nothing to stamp out early school leaving, a scourge that denies our young people the right to develop their unique skills and abilities and undermines the future development of our people into a highly skilled and educated workforce”.

The Waterford branch committee congratulated the SIPTU retired members who attended the Dublin over 70’s medical card rally and said their example should inspire others to try to ensure that it was not just the rich that survived the economic downturn.

Ms Butler concluded: “The education of our children is a fundamental pillar in any successful society and SIPTU will unreservedly support our teachers and their unions in their campaign to have these cuts reversed. This is not just their fight, it’s a fight for the future prospects of our children, grandchildren and our society in general”.