Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill says there are hundreds of school children across the country without a school place because they have special needs.
Deputy Cahill raised the issue as part of a Fianna Fáil Private Members Motion to highlight shortfalls in special needs education.
“Last year more than 850 children with special needs were taught at home because they were unable to secure a place in a school. In Tipperary, 15 children were left waiting for a place during the 2017/18 school year and had to access home tuition. This is deeply upsetting for these children and their parents, with the majority having applied to numerous schools in their area in the hope of securing a school place”, said Deputy Cahill.
“This is a clear breach of these children’s right to education. Every child in this country should be afforded the opportunity to reach their potential, but by failing to allow them access to education, Fine Gael is denying them that possibility.
“The Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 gives the Minister for Education the power to compel schools to provide special classes where sufficient places are not available. So far, despite concerns raised by parents across the country, this power has only been used in Dublin 15. This is simply not good enough – the government needs to be far more active in its application.
“Fine Gael cannot continue to ignore this problem – this will only leave more children behind. Schools must be provided with the resources to vindicate these children’s right to an education”, concluded Deputy Cahill.