Fine Gael Galway East TD and Minister of State at the Department of Education, Ciaran Cannon, has today (Wednesday) paid tribute to his departmental colleague, Ruairi Quinn TD, who has announced he is stepping down.
“Minister Quinn and I have had a very close and fruitful working relationship over the last three years. We met for the first time the day after I was appointed and he assured me that I would have full autonomy in my areas of responsibility and whatever support I needed to succeed in my role as Junior Minister for Training and Skills. He has stood by that commitment and together we have worked with our officials to carry out some of the most significant and lasting reforms of the education sector in decades.
“We have established SOLAS, our new further education and training authority, along with sixteen new education and training boards. Just four weeks ago we published Ireland’s first ever Further Education and Training Strategy and we have given real legitimacy and direction to a sector of Ireland’s education system that has so much to offer to all learners. With programmes like Springboard and Momentum we have helped thousands of our unemployed to gain access to effective and meaningful re-skilling opportunities to support them on the journey back to work.
“Last month I staged EXCITED, Ireland’s first ever Digital Learning Festival, in Dublin Castle, again with the support of my colleague Minister Quinn. Our Department is now preparing to publish a Digital Strategy for Schools which will empower teachers and students to use technology in the classroom like it has never been used before.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to work alongside a fine politician with a lifetime of experience, but who, in living that life, never lost his zeal and passion for reform. Ruairi never allowed that flame for change to dim in his forty years in politics and for me that is the mark of someone who chose that life for the right reasons. I wish him and his family every happiness for the future.”