By Dan Walsh
“Every child in every school in the Wexford has the “right to be a reader” and the upcoming Budget must make this happen,” according to Enniscorthy-based Fine Gael Deputy Paul Kehoe, TD.
Calling on Minister for Education and Skills, Norma Foley to fully restore the school library fund in Budget 2022, Deputy Kehoe told WexfordLocal.com ; “Every piece of research into childhood development shows that reading really matters. Reading is linked to improved well-being, cognitive development, increased literacy and academic self-confidence. Reading has the power to change children’s lives for the better and I am calling on the Minister to restore to full budget for grant funding for primary schools to keep their libraries fully stocked.
“This budget was cut in 2008 and has never been restored. As a result, fewer children have ready access to excellent, modern books. Many schools rely on donations to provide this essential resource.
“I am very proud of the great strides that we have made in our school building programme, building state of the art new schools, upgrading existing schools and planning for the future, but we need to continue to move this forward. There is little point in providing wonderful spaces for libraries in our schools if there is no funding to fill them with books.
“Allocating €10 for every primary school child in the country to help schools buy books (including audio and picture books) would require a Budget allocation of €5.68m, which, as with every investment into our children, would pay the state back exponentially into the future. Funding school libraries allow every child to become a reader,” concluded Deputy Kehoe.