Thursday, 22 November 2012

More needs to be done to protect the Language School Industry in Wicklow

Sinn Fein Councillor John Brady has said more needs to be done to
protect and help grow the English Language school Industry in Wicklow.
His calls follow an attack on a number of foreign students in Bray
over the last week. The industry brings thousands of students to
Wicklow each year and is worth several million Euro to the local

Speaking after meeting with a number of groups of students who have
been at the receiving end of both verbal and physical abuse the Sinn
Féin Councillor said "Wicklow and in particular Bray has long been
associated with foreign students, mainly coming from Spain, France and
Italy and in more recent years students are travelling from places as
far away as Brazil, Korea and China to learn English. In Bray there
are a large number of excellent English Language schools and these
bring in thousands of students each year, most students stay with
local families which in turn brings a little extra income into the
house. The vast majority of the time the students have a very
enjoyable and memorable stay, unfortunately there are a small number
of instances were students are attacked or targeted by mindless,
narrow minded thugs. Bray Town Council needs to take the led in
ensuring that everything that can be done will be done to promote the
protect the industry and they need to work with the schools and the
Gardaí as part of that process"

Cllr Brady continued "Unfortunately it is the attacks which happen on
a very small number of students each year that make the news. It would
be incorrect and foolish if we didn't admit that it happens, albeit
very rarely, to shy away from the issue is the wrong thing to do. We
need to tackle the issue head on to ensure the good name that Wicklow
has for hosting foreign students is protected. This is a multi million
euro industry and probably the biggest industry in Bray and more needs
to be done to protect it from the small number of short sighted thugs"

He went onto say the violence against foreigners was "a serious
social, educational, diplomatic and probably economic crisis that no
one is taking seriously enough. Unfortunately some schools have
already had to take the unprecedented step of curtailing some areas of
Bray where they can let students stay because of past incidents. This
has been a blow to the many local families in these areas who had
hosted students over many years without incident".

Cllr Brady concluded "I have already spoken to a large number of
students about their experiences in Wicklow which have mostly been
positive, unfortunately some had negative experiences. I am also
making arrangements to meet representatives of the schools to listen
to their concerns too and what they think can be done. There needs to
be an educational aspect to the solution and that needs to be about
showing some the real benefits locally of having students and this
could be done through the schools sponsoring local sports clubs for
example. I also plan on raising the issue at the next meeting of the
Joint Policing Committee (JPC), I will be asking for a permanent
position to be made for a representative from the foreign schools on
the JPC, so policing policies can be formulated to protect the
industry across Wicklow".

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