Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Callous SNA cuts are avoidable - Mythen

An Enniscorthy Sinn Féin councillor has described attempts to cut special needs assistants as being callous and completely avoidable. Cllr Johnny Mythen was speaking after his motion calling on Enniscorthy town council to write a letter to the Education Minister demanding a reversal of SNA cuts was passed last week.

“It is not acceptable that children with special needs should go without appropriate support to see them through their education,” Cllr Mythen said. “What kind of country abandons these children and their chances to make a life for themselves? Certainly not one that I or anyone I know wants to live in. Cutting SNAs undoubtedly makes no social sense, but it also makes no economic sense. SNAs are poorly paid for the incredible service that they provide. They earn just a little more than the minimum wage – less than €12 an hour. Money can be saved elsewhere. Why not abolish the outlandish tax breaks for the wealthy instead of abolishing the future of the children who will be affected by these cuts?”

“This is about priorities and looking after the educational prospects of our most vulnerable children must be made a priority. The SNA cut is a nightmare for schools but an even bigger nightmare for families of children with special needs. Everyone knows that the country is in a precarious position but that does not give the government a license to impose unimaginable misery upon the most vulnerable children in our society. The proclamation of 1916 stated that we should ‘cherish all of the children of the nation equally’. I am asking the Minister for Education to remember those words and not to condemn the nation’s most vulnerable children to a lifetime of mediocrity.”

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