Health Minister gives go-ahead for pilot scheme at Claddagh school

A pilot speech therapy programme has been given the green light at Claddagh primary school following Health Minister Mary Harney’s visit to the premises recently.

In what has been described as an “exciting shift in policy”, the HSE will provide funding for a speech therapist to work at the city school on a pilot basis for two years.

During her visit, Deputy Harney was given a tour of the school’s facilities for children with special needs and also held discussions with principal Brendan Forde and other staff members.

“It is a very exciting shift in policy that Minister Harney decided, after discussions with myself and other staff involved in the provision of supports to the children with special needs, including autism, within the school, that it would be most beneficial, on a pilot basis, to attend to the core need of speech therapy,” he said.

This unique cross-over between the schools system and the HSE has been supported by local politicians, Deputy Noel Grealish and Senator Niall Ó Brolcháin, both of whom discussed the matter with Mr Forde when he attended the Oireachtas Committee on Education earlier this year. Both local politicians accompanied Deputy Harney on her visit to the school.

She said she was very impressed with the work being done there and lauded its inclusive ethos.

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