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Aontú Deputy Leader Gemma Brolly Meets Commissioner for Children and Young People over Special Education Needs Shortfalls

The Aontú deputy leader Gemma Brolly has met with the chief executive of NICCY to discuss options in addressing the failure of the state to facilitate the needs of our children and young people.

Gemma Brolly, herself a teacher and Special Needs Co-ordinator became so infuriated with the increasing cuts and attacks on our most vulnerable, she contacted NICCY chief executive in a desperate attempt to force change.

"The Chief Executive Mairead McCafferty responded with what felt equal dismay and was very eager to hear the realities of teaching and special needs from 'someone at the coal-face" began Mrs Brolly. 

"We discussed many issues such as the continuing failure to implement recommendations from various reports such as "Too Little Too Late" from NICCY themselves and others from the PAC and NIO.  NICCY themselves confirmed they met with Permanent Education Secretary Mark Browne in July to reiterate the importance and need of prioritising SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.)"

Ms Brolly continued "we discussed various issues such as waiting lists, cuts to mental health and wellbeing funding, parental referrals alongside school referrals, time allocations and the increasing number of children beginning school life with speech and language difficulties yet both parents and staff struggling to obtain the support these children need to progress, without an official statement of educational need. We are, in many ways, further from progress in SEND now than ever before."

The NICCY chief executive and EA Representative confirmed they would convey this information to their colleagues and arrange a meeting with the new commissioner. Ms McCafferty also wishes to ensure the public are aware that individuals who believe their children and young people are struggling unnecessarily, such as waiting too long on support or being unable to access support can also contact their legal department using the referral form on their website. (

Mrs Brolly concluded "All in attendance agreed that the situation of no government has let many people off the hook, pressurising departments and their staff and most importantly placing the health and education of increasing numbers of children at risk. Our children deserve better and we in Aontú will continue to examine all possible avenues to help achieve the standards of health and education they deserve."


By Aontú Press | 6 September, 2023

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