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Memorandum of Understanding between Celtic and US Autism Groups

8 October, 2007

Michelle O'Neill MLA for Mid-Ulster, who is the Vice-chair of the Assembly Health Committee and a member of the Education Committee, has just returned from a trip to Washington with representatives of Autism NI/PAPA in her role as Sinn Fein Party Spokesperson on Disability.

The purpose of this trip was to establish a working relationship with the American Senate and Congress, who have recently passed Autism legislation.

Speaking after the visit Ms O'Neill said:

"Autism NI are currently lobbying the Assembly to introduce legislation and we fully support them in this.

"This trip was a valuable opportunity to see how legislation would benefit those who fall within the Autistic Spectrum."

Michelle O'Neill MLA along with Autism NI and representatives of the other Celtic Nations met with Senator Hillary Clinton's senior staff as well as other senators and members of congress.

She added:

"As a result of these meetings a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Celtic Nation representatives and their American counterparts to establish a commitment to work together to improve the quality of life for those with Autism and their carers.

"This was a very worthwhile and informative trip and I hope that we will now use what has been learned in Washington to move this issue forward to ensure early diagnosis and adequate resources and support for those with Autistic spectrum." ENDS

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