Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Case of autistic child highlights government indifference and lack of compassion - Mary Lou McDonald

16 June, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today criticised the government for failing to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society and of having a "black and white approach to its responsibilities".

Ms McDonald made her comments after the High Court ruled that the state was not responsible for funding the education of a severely autistic child outside the state, even though the state has no adequate autistic facilities.

Speaking from Dublin Ms McDonald said:

"Many people are shocked and bewildered by the High Court decision not to fund the education of a severely autistic 14 year old boy in Wales. This child has had no educational support in the past two years because the state does not have adequate autism-specific facilities.

"The very fact that the O'Carolan family had to take a case to the High Court to have their sons specialist schooling funded is an indictment of this government and how it views its responsibilities toward the sick and disabled. Unfortunately this High Court decision could set a dangerous precedent, and allow this government off the hook on providing adequate facilities for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

"On Thursday the 23rd of June, I will be hosting a delegation of families who have autistic children, at the European Parliament in Brussels. These families are crying out for help and support to care for their children. Throughout the course of their visit, the families will meet with representatives of the European Commission, to seek help at European level."ENDS

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