Cllr Kelly said;
"The ASD unit at Scoil Mhuire was opened in 2003 with an allocation of one to one SNA support for each pupil enrolled who had been diagnosed with autism. 57% of pupils were successfully integrated into mainstream classes due to the effectiveness of this programme. The fact that the national average was 19% shows how successful this imitative was."
"The NCSE reviewed the unit in 2011 and identified diminished care needs in the children assessed and subsequently axed 6 SNA positions in the unit. They did this despite the appeals of parents and teachers who stressed that this would have a detrimental impact on their children's education and integration. The unit was reviewed again in 2012 but no cuts were made. Now the unit is being reviewed for a third time and worried parents believe that further cuts could be imminent."
"Ironically the result of the review is due to be announced by the NCSE sometime this month around the time when the payment for respite is made. I know of parents that have lost €700 in the cut that was made to the respite grant in last Decembers budget. Many families have told me they are waiting on the respite grant so they can pay their property tax. It is unbelievable that families should have to live under this kind of stress and heartache brought about directly by the actions of our pro austerity government."