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Parents to protest at Dáil against special needs cuts

Organisers have said they expect a “substantial turnout” at the demonstration later today.

Demonstrators at a protest against SNA cuts earlier this year
Demonstrators at a protest against SNA cuts earlier this year
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

PARENTS, SCHOOL TEACHERS and other activists will mass at the gates of Leinster House this afternoon in protest at special needs cuts in education.

The campaigners are hoping to force the government to row back on cuts to the number of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) available in classrooms. The demonstration, organised by the Alliance Against Cuts in Education, will begin at 4pm.

Parents of special needs children argue that the cuts – which come as part of a raft of savings measures introduced by the government – will affect education for all schoolchildren, as without proper support, children with special needs will take up more of teachers’ time and attention.

Writing on TheJournal.ie this morning, Lorraine Dempsey of the Special Needs Parents Association has hit out at the services available to children with special needs. “The struggle that these families have, in what claims to be a First World country, is nothing less than sinful,” she writes. “These children are like the poor cousins who get thrown the scraps of the health service, and don’t fit neatly into any box on a form created by public or civil servants”

Speaking last week, protest organiser Tomás Ó Dúlaing said children’s needs had been dealt a “hammer blow” by the cutbacks and he anticipated a “substantial turnout” at the protest.

Read more: Lorraine Dempsey on the struggle faced by parents of children with special needs>

Read more: Special needs cuts ‘devastating’ for parents>

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Michael Freeman

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