Sinn Féin President and TD for Dublin Central Mary Lou McDonald has given a cautious welcome to the news that the HSE has paused the decision to remove in-school Speech and Language Services from special schools.
The decision had created huge distress for students, parents and staff at the Holy Family School for the Deaf on the Navan Road, and for special school communities across the state.
Teachta McDonald said:
“While I welcome the confirmation that the HSE have paused this decision, the only acceptable solution is full retention of the in-school service.
“This is the outcome needed to relieve the distress of the school community at Holy Family School for the Deaf and for affected students and parents in schools across Ireland.
“It would be unacceptable for the government to push ahead with a model that sees children lose services that are vital to their progress and their education. The review of the PDS model must recognise how important in-school services are to these children.
“Over the last number of weeks, I have raised my serious concerns about the potential loss of in-school Speech and Language Therapist with An Taoiseach in the Dáil, and with Ministers Anne Rabbitte and Roderic O’Gorman.
“I have met with Olive Hanley, Head of Service for Disability for the HSE in this area, and with Holy Family Principal Eimear O’Rourke to ensure that the voices of students, parents and the school community are heard.
“Students and parents need to be told with absolute certainty that in-school speech and language therapy services will not be removed.
“I will continue to press this issue with the Taoiseach and with the relevant Ministers until the right outcome is achieved.”