Wednesday, 27 June 2018
It is not fair to describe it as rhetoric. I gave the Deputy a list of facts. People, as I often say, are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. Yes, it is the case that our population is increasing. This is one of the reasons why the education budget must increase too. Notwithstanding that, we have been able to hire an extra 5,000 teachers over two years and invest more in special needs education than ever before. We are building loads of new schools all over the country. I appreciate that more need to be built and many need to be refurbished. It is not possible to do all these things in one year. Something we will absolutely consider in the context of the next budget is an increase in capitation, but we will have to look at it in the round. Any promises or commitments we have made on spending have been delivered over the past seven years, and the ones we are making now will be delivered into the future. I do not make these promises on the hoof; they will only be made after proper consideration in the run-up to the budget.
It is interesting to hear Fianna Fáil Members, including Deputy Micheál Martin, claiming credit for things the Government has done. It reminds me of the "Wizard of Oz" and the man behind the curtain who claims credit for everything good that happens but no responsibility for anything else.