12,000 turn out for protest against education cuts

Around 12,000 teachers, parents and students turned out on the streets of Dublin last night to vent their fury over the Government's planned cutbacks in education.

The demonstration was the third major protest against measures included in this month's Budget following similarly large marches by pensioners and third-level students.

Last night's rally was timed to coincide with the start of a Dáil debate on a Labour Party motion calling for the education cuts to be reversed.

Speaking during the debate, Labour's Ruairi Quinn said the measures would cost Irish society in the long run by forcing people to drop out of education.

Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe, however, said the Government had no option but to make the cuts due to the massive decline in the public finances this year.

A vote will be taken on the Labour motion this evening, but it is expected to be defeated as the Green Party has indicated that it will be supporting Fianna Fáil on the matter.

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