Jun 14, 2022, Irish Examiner: Parents of special needs children 'have their backs to the wall', Dáil told https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40895705.html
Parents of special needs children "have their backs to the wall and are accepting inappropriate school places" the Dáil has been told.
The Dáil debated a Sinn Féin private members bill on Tuesday which called on the Government to "publish the data on the true number of children without an appropriate school place for September", as well as guaranteeing that a previously-proposed "segregationist" special education centre plan would not go ahead.
Cork South-Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire told the Dáil that it was "disgraceful" that the Government was looking to use emergency measures to find spaces for at least 267 children who do not have appropriate places in schools. He said that parents were being forced to put children with additional needs into classes where teachers are not adequately trained. ...
Donegal Independent TD Thomas Pringle said that there was a lack of data available, which led to a "complete lack of services" for many parents.
Responding, Ms Madigan said that while she did not understand all of the difficulties faced by parents, she did support them.
She said that she would work to ensure that no child is left without a school place. She said that her department is "working closely" with parents and schools.
The Government tabled a counter-motion to the Sinn Féin bill, saying it is "committed to ensuring that each child with a special educational need has an appropriate school place, in line with their constitutional right and programme for government commitments".
"This year, the Department of Education will spend in excess of €2bn [$2.7B], or over 25% of the department’s budget, on providing additional teaching and care supports for children with special educational needs," the counter-motion stated.
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that families were "hurt and angered" by the plan to open special education centres. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins