Category: Special Needs cuts

Call comes after reports of economic growth of 26%

Gino Kenny election posterPeople Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, has demanded that the HSE respond to and inquiry he made about special needs school places, therapists and waiting times for services for special needs children.

After a very successful meeting with parents, People Before Profit had written to the HSE in search of answers as to where the supports for special need children such as Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Special Needs Assistants were.

Children with conditions like ASD, Speech and Language Impairments or Dyspraxia, who are experiencing difficulty acquiring skills such as speech, language and physical coordination, need help from Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) and Occupational Therapists (OTs). They also need support in school from Resource Teachers, Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and special classes.  

Deputy Kenny questioned, due to the reports of 26% growth in the Irish economy, where the tax revenue for this increased growth was and why some of it was not being directed to services for special needs children such as SNAs, OTs and SLTs.

Deputy Kenny said: “We have written to the HSE demanding a reduction in waiting times for services and therapy for special needs children and the hiring of more SNAs, OTs and SLTs to work with these children.

“Despite the strong evidence for the success of these inputs, parents and children experience long delays, and are frequently missing services, when they try to access assessments and treatments. 15,000 children are waiting for SLT alone. Waiting times are up to two years in some areas. Therapists on leave are not being replaced and school places are not available locally. This is disgraceful and has to stop immediately. We need investment in these areas.

“It is absolutely criminal that the government are allowing these children to be held back by lack of funding. These children have rights, civil, human but also economic rights where they should be given access to these vital services that are required to live their lives equal to that of their peers.

“I am calling on the government to outline why the funding for these services has been pulled, why it has not being restored and furthermore, what proportion of the 26% economic growth will be taxed and how much of that money will be directed to restoring these services.”

img_4276In the Dail this afternoon, People Before Profit TD, tackled the Minister for Health about the outrageous threat to the vocational services at St Augustines School in Blackrock.

St Augustine’s School is a successful school for children with learning disabilities with superior vocational services that has served children with special needs, not only in Blackrock but across the south city.

Recently parents and teachers have learned that their funding from the Dept of Health via St John of Gods is under threat.  This could see an end to the vocational development programme which includes Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and more.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “It is utterly unacceptable that these services would be lost to this school.  The services that are currently there are absolutely crucial for the children in this school.  The loss of these services will seriously undermine the life chances of these children.

“I welcome the Minister’s willingness to meet with representatives of the parents group but the rest of the answer was bureaucratic and did not recognise the seriousness of the issue.  The promise of extra SNA’s is not a replacement for the huge cut to the vocational supports in the school.”

Boyd Barrett continued: “I will continue to raise this issue at every level and work with everyone and anyone to try and save these services.”

Tax Justice to fund action on housing, health and inequality

PBP - Pre-Budget Statement 2016

Click here to read in full

At a press conference today, the People Before Profit Alliance presented its pre-budget statement for 2016. 

The central theme of PBPA’s budget was the need for emergency action and increased spending in areas such as housing, the health service and to address income and wealth inequality.

PBPA believe shifting the tax burden to ensure a greater tax contribution from the corporate sector, those on higher earnings and those with significant personal wealth can generate the much needed funds to address the crisis in our public services and growing poverty and deprivation.

A summary of the measures proposed in the PBPA budget statement include:

  • Abolish property tax; water charges; and the USC for salaries below €70,000
  • Reverse the cuts to social welfare and end age discrimination
  • Expand Health funding in all areas.
  • Restore the jobs and public services that have been run down
  • Emergency programme of social housing and investment in rent support and homelessness
  • Invest in Education and develop proper child care facilities

Full Statement available here: PBP-Pre Budget Statement 2016

Speaking at the launch LtoR: Cllr Brid Smith, Ailbhe Smyth, Richard Boyd Barrett TD

Speaking at the Pre-Budget launch: Cllr Brid Smith, Ailbhe Smyth & Richard Boyd Barrett TD

Richard Boyd Barrett highlights problems with the assessment process for those who need carers.

rbb dailSpeaking in the Dáil this evening during statement on the Review of the Programme for Government Richard Boyd Barrett TD accused the government of bullshit for claiming they have successfully turned the economy around when there is an emergency in the health service, in social housing, homelessness and the numbers of people living in poverty.

Deputy Boyd Barrett slammed government policy for leading directly to a dramatic rise in homelessness and poverty, and claimed that the new Gateway scheme was a Fine Gael “wet dream to force young people to work for next to nothing and displace proper paid employment in the public service.

Richard Boyd Barrett said, “The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste might as well be on another planet in another stratosphere and their definition of success is perverse if success is lining the pockets of bankers, speculators and spin-doctors at the expense of the people of the country. If success is to eliminate poverty and homelessness and maintain a health service that keeps people safe then the programme for government has been an absolute failure”.

The only people applauding this government are the elites – the bankers, the property speculators, the multi-national corporations and the consultants and CEOs on massive salaries.

Government policies are leading directly to the biggest homelessness and housing crisis the state has ever seen. Rent caps for Dublin and urban centres are leading to people losing their homes and driving increasing numbers into homelessness. Tens of thousands of people have been on housing lists for years and instead of putting people to work and building social housing the government is incentivising speculators to buy property cheaply.

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In his Dail statement on the Government’s Priorities for the Year Ahead, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit Alliance People Before Profit TD accused the Taoiseach of ‘bullshit’ in Dail Lab/FG government’s success record after 3 years in power from the housing crisis, the slave-labour Gateway scheme, health service cuts, enriching the banks and the governments response on justice, in particular the Taoiseach’s reponse to the Stardust Families.

People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett on foot of representations from parents and teachers submitted a parliamentary question asking for reassurances from Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, that there will be no cuts to the visiting teacher service for children with hearing and/or visual impairment (VTHVI).

vttRichard Boyd Barrett TD called on the Minister for Education to heed the calls of parents of children with special needs and their teachers to maintain the visiting teacher service which has been put under review by the government. Currently there are 43 posts nationally in the VTHVI service catering for over 2000 children (29 for deaf/hard of hearing, 14 for blind/visually impaired).

Deputy Boyd Barrett was contacted by parents and teachers concerned about the possible impact of the review the VTHVI and is supporting the campaign. He submitted the parliamentary question last week seeking details of possible adverse effects on the visiting teacher service arising from the review.

Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed out that children with sensory deprivation already suffer discrimination with a far lower percentage of those children advancing to third level Education than their counterparts.

Richard Boyd Barrett said, “I’m really appealing to the Minister to leave this service alone. These children should not suffer any further discrimination within teh Education system that will affect them for their whole lives”

“Children with sensory disabilities are just as intellectually capable as any other child but need extra resources and supports to fulfill their potential. The Visiting Teacher service is a success story in that it provides the support needed and it must not be touched as part of this review. I welcome any reassurances the Minister can give on this issue”.