On Air One to Three Christy Dehaven | 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Pre-school row intensifies - could there be a U-turn?

The fall-out from the news all 11 of the Island's government-funded pre-schools and two libraries are to close continues.

Education and Children Minister Peter Karran says they are non-essential services and in harsh economic times, he had no choice but to cut their funding.

It's understood the department has to save £2.9 million in the next financial year.

Mr Karran says it's been a tough decision, but harsher cuts were on the table:

The proposal to sweep away pre-school nurseries, much valued library services and the primary language service, has provoked an angry reaction which could yet prove highly embarrassing.

Several thousand vocal mums and dads are vowing to fight the proposals and a protest is planned for outside Tywnald tomorrow lunchtime.

The issue has also set social media networks buzzing all weekend, including a Facebook group opposed to the plan.

There are also more than 3,300 signatures to two petitions opposing the respective moves.

The next 24 hours is seen as a vital window before the tide of budget comment and Angela Moffatt of Prospect has described the government’s decision as shambolic, given it recently spent £100,000 on a new mobile library.

Are the Council of Ministers prepared to re-consider though ahead of tomorrow’s budget vote.

On a facebook page, Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson said last night that Ministers are working on a plan to salvage something, although he adds it is fair to say it may not be as simple as it is at present.

He thanks to all who have sent emails about pre-school provision and insists all is not as bad as it seems.

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