Parents of special needs children protest outside Dail
Demonstration went ahead despite reveral in cut to resource teaching hours
The protest went ahead in spite of Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn’s announcement on Tuesday that he was reversing a decision to cut extra resource teaching hours. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
About 800 people gathered outside the Dail last night for a protest over cuts to special needs education.
The protest – organised by Special Needs Parents Association – was one of several which took place around the country yesterday.
They went ahead in spite of Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn’s announcement on Tuesday that he was reversing a decision to cut extra resource teaching hours by about half an hour for some 42,000 children.
The change had been announced last week by the National Council for Special Education.
Special Needs Parents Association chairperson Lorraine Dempsey welcomed Mr Quinn’s announcement that a further 500 resource teaching posts will be allocated to cater for the needs of the 4000 extra pupils meeting the criteria.
She was critical however of “a system that is either failing a minority or needs an open discussion with stakeholders on difficulties faced by parents and school bodies in responding to the needs of children”.
Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said the reversal of the cuts was “entirely the outcome of the outcry and resultant political pressure” felt by the Government.
“The very timing of the intended cuts so close to the summer break was cynically designed again to make it as difficult as possible for parents and teachers to organise a fight back,” he said.