No more special needs cutbacks - councillors

Westmeath County Council is to write to Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to condemn any cuts relating to children with special needs.

There was unanimous support for a motion from Cllr Ken Glynn, who drew attention to a march which took place at the Department of Education in Athlone on June 26 to protest at proposed cuts.

“To be fair the Minister has rowed back on the cuts to resource hours. Children with special needs need a lot of help - in some cases children are sharing SNAs (special needs assistants ) with two other children. We need to collectively write to the Minister and support the call for no further cuts,” said Cllr Glynn.

Cllr Avril Whitney, a teacher by profession, supported the call.

“The fact that the Minister even considered further cuts on the most vulnerable people...but he has made a U-turn as a result of the cries of parents and families who are dealing with this on a day-to-day basis. Since 2011 there has been a 25 per cent cut. As we head into the next academic year an extra 12 per cent are entitled to support. If the Minister was to go out and look at how further cuts would affect children, he would soon learn that no more cuts can be taken.”

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