Sinn Féin candidate in Tipperary Ciara McCormack has welcomed the Minister for Education’s proposed amendments to the School Admissions Bill.
Speaking today Ciara said: “The school admissions bill has been languishing in Leinster House for a very long time now so the news that the Minister has announced today is very welcome to us.
“In particular, I welcome the amendment which proposes to award the Minister the power to compel schools to open specialised classes within mainstream schools.
“There is a chronic shortage of places available in Tipperary for children with specialised needs within mainstream schools.
“Some children are travelling up to an hour and a half each way to attend a school which has a class to cater for their needs and the current legislation allows schools to refuse to open a specialised class regardless of need and where funding is available.
“This puts parents under extreme pressure, if their child falls ill or needs collection they must travel to collect their child, siblings are often separated and therapies such as speech and language or occupational therapy are not available if the child attending the unit does not come under the care of the HSE Community Health Organisation in that area.
“The legislation as it is currently is not fit for purpose and creates unnecessary and unfair difficulties for parents.
“Parents should not have to baptise their child simply to secure a school place – something which frequently happens at the moment as children can be refused a place based on religious criteria in primary schools.
“I would like to see these amendments and subsequently the bill receiving the support of both houses of the Oireachtas and the legislation implemented in full without delay.”