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Adams supports SNA campaign

13 July, 2011 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in this evening’s Private Members debate on a motion on Special Needs Assistants called for “new legislation to give effect to the rights of children. Greater transparency and accountability is needed around the education system and the manner in which it responds to the special education needs of children. The rights of parents in particular must be valued and respected.”

The Sinn Féin leader pointed to the concerns of parents and teachers in Louth and East Meath and in particular those in Kilsaran National School.

Mr. Adams said: “This is an issue of rights. It should not be about money. Children – all children – should have the right of access to education on the basis of equality, especially in a republic. “

Text of Mr. Adams remarks: Check against delivery

“I welcome this debate and support the motion.

This is an issue of rights. It should not be about money.

Tá gá le páistí bheith mar chroílár spiorad agus polasaí ár náisiún. Déantar aon rialtas sa domhan a thomhais ar an gcaoi a gcabhraíonn siad le gach páiste a gcearta foscadh, bia agus oideachas a bheith acu.

Children – all children – should have the right of access to education on the basis of equality, especially in a republic.

Equality makes sense. It is key to building a society that is just, inclusive, safe and prosperous.

A child with Downe Syndrome or who is physically disabled, or has learning or behavioural difficulties or is afflicted with a debilitating illness, has the same right of access to education as every other citizen.

It is an indictment of successive governments that this is not the norm and that the state tolerates second class status for some citizens.

Society and politicians have a responsibility to ensure that the rights and needs of Special Needs children are protected and upheld as legal entitlements.

In my own constituency government policy has left parents at Kilsaran National School, and others, deeply concerned that the Minister will deny them the SNAs their children require.

To appease the demands of the Troika the government has been focussed entirely on claiming there are too many SNAs; on limiting the definition of special needs; on reducing costs, and limiting hours available to children in need.

Yes, there are more Special Needs Assistants now than there was a decade ago but that is because for generations previous governments and the education system were failing thousands of children.

More is needed – not less. This includes new legislation to give effect to the rights of children.

Greater transparency and accountability are needed in education and in the manner it responds to the special education needs of children.

Tá sé seo scannallach agus ní amháin é sin ni féidir liomsa glacadh leis an gcinneadh seo ! Is cuma anois má chláraítear páiste le riachtanaisí speisialta inar scoileanna. Ní bheidh tacaíocht ar fáil dóibh.

Cad a dhéanfaidh príomhoidí anois? Diúltiú paistí a chlárú nuair a thagann sé go dtí Meán anFhómhair?

The rights of parents in particular must be valued and respected.

Finally, two weeks ago the government handed €12 million over to senior unguaranteed bondholders in Anglo Irish.

That one payment was enough to cover the cuts the government is insisting on for SNA and education.

The government has its priorities wrong.

It is making the wrong political choices.

I would urge Labour and Fine Gael TDs to do the right thing and support this motion.”

ENDS

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