Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kelly calls on government to reverse SNA cuts

Speaking after a protest against cuts to SNAs held during Enda Kenny’s visit to Wexford town last week, Cllr Anthony Kelly called on the government to immediately reverse cuts to special needs assistants. The Wexford town Sinn Fein councillor commended the determination and persistence of parents who organised the protest to appeal for a fair education for their children.

Cllr Kelly said;
“I’m taken aback by Enda Kenny’s disdain for these parents who are only making a very reasonable demand for a fair education for their children. His statement warning the parents to expect no reverse to SNA cuts shows an outrageous lack of humanity. No one could have encountered these parents and not be touched by their plight and their fortitude to fight for their children’s rights. Enda Kenny and his government have to see reason and reverse these cruel cuts immediately.”

“The government seems unable to grasp the devastating impact that these cuts are having on children who have special education and behavioural needs as well as on their families, who are struggling to cope, and on over-burdened teachers with responsibility for their learning. They also seem ignorant to the relatively small savings that are being made from these cuts. SNAs earn just a little more than the minimum wage – less than €12 an hour. You can see how miniscule their wages are when compared with the earnings of our government ministers or quango members.”

“The government insists it is unable to pay to keep our S.N.As in post; however they recently handed over €35m to the lawyers of the Catholic Church to contribute to their legal fees regarding the clerical sex abuse cases. This money went to solicitors, not abuse victims. Fine Gael and Labour seek to save €6m by capping the number of S.N.As around the Country. The net saving to the exchequer will be approximately €2m as the Social Welfare costs of 230 SNAs becoming unemployed will cost the state roughly €4m.”

“I was glad to stand by the parents who are fighting these cuts and I can assure them the full support of Sinn Fein. I admire and commend the determination and persistence of these parents who are prepared to fight for the basic rights of having access to a proper and fair education for their children. It’s up to the people of County Wexford to do the right thing now and to get behind these parents and their children. Together we can force the government to reverse these unfair cuts.”

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