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DUP blocking £25million Special Needs funding

15 February, 2009

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson John O'Dowd has accused the DUP of directly blocking £25m of funding to Special Needs children. Mr. O'Dowd's comments come after the DUP once again blocked the paper which will release this funding going before last weeks Executive.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Owing to their cross cutting nature the policy proposals on Special Needs education were referred to the Executive last year for their agreement to issue for consultation. £25m has been secured from the Budget 2007 for commencement of the finalised proposals in the 2010/11 year.

"The Minister sent a draft Executive paper to other Ministers in July last year and followed up on this in November with a further memo asking them to note the changes which had made in light of comments received from a number of Ministers and again asked for agreement to issue the policy proposals for public consultation. The DUP have blocked the paper going forward for Executive approval.

"If the DUP continue with this stance the direct effect is the blocking of £25million in services for children with special needs. The DUP needs to explain why they are now targeting Special Needs children.

"It is entirely unacceptable that the needs of children, particularly vulnerable children, should be jeopardised in this way due to whatever internal politicking is going on within the DUP." ENDS

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