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Concern at lack of progress on proposed all Ireland Autism Centre at Middletown

18 February, 2005

Sinn Féin education spokesman, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland has expressed deep concern at the lack of progress on the proposed all Ireland Autism centre at Middletown, Co. Armagh, after he received information from the Department of Education about the work carried out to date at the centre.

Mr Hyland said:

"Unfortunately it seems that the project is no further on since the 'grand opening' of the centre on September 14 when distinguished guests were told by NIO minister, Barry Gardiner and southern education minister Noel Dempsey, that the various financial and legalistic problems had been resolved.

"Six months on and there has been no further progress.

"I have now received information that indicates that the centre will not be opened until the autumn of 2006 at the earliest. This brings into question the commitment of the education departments north and south to help improve the quality of life for children with autism. Both departments continue to immerse themselves in bureaucratic red tape. They are stalling in moving forward with creating a centre which will benefit a vulnerable section of Irish society north and south." ENDS

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