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Special needs teacher cutbacks unjustifiable - Doherty

11 February, 2009

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has described the cuts announced today in support for special educational needs teachers as unjustifiable. Senator Doherty said the special educational needs of children with learning difficulties cannot be met in mainstream classrooms as has been claimed by a Department spokesperson.

Senator Doherty said, "Government attacks against the most vulnerable in society continue today with cuts in support for special educational needs teachers for up to 900 children in more than 100 schools across the state. I have today tabled a Parliamentary Question on this to see exactly what impact these cuts will have.

"These pupils will be moved into already overcrowded mainstream classrooms where they will receive little support with their learning difficulties. The effect of these unjustifiable cuts will be detrimental to all children in the classroom.

"Our vulnerable children should not pay the price for this government's failures. This is one in a long line of attacks on those most in need by this government. To announce that these children's needs would be catered for in mainstream classrooms is a lie.

The Minister for Education and Science Batt O'Keeffe gave a grand speech in the Seanad last night about the need to invest in our education system in order to pull Ireland out of its current economic mess. He boasted about his and his department's 'achievements' since he came into office. However not once did he mention what was in store for our schools this morning.

"The minister and his department are a failure. They have failed the students. They have failed the teachers and they have failed and attacked those who are most in need of help. Shame on minister Batt O'Keeffe.

"This latest attack must be reversed. It is wrong and it is shameful and the Minister should be brought to account for his actions." ENDS

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