Fine Gael Exclude many Children with Down Syndrome from July Provision
Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has blasted the Minister for Education for backing out of his June 5th pledge that all Children with Down Syndrome would be eligible for the July Provision. He said that “this exclusion of many children with Down Syndrome is simply unacceptable in 21st century Ireland.
Tóibín: “The June 5th declaration by the Minister of Education extending the July Provision scheme to children, with Down Syndrome was meant to be a milestone in inclusivity and vindication of disability rights in this country. That declaration has now been tainted and somewhat obviated by the numerous qualifications to the inclusion of many children”.
“Thousands of parents of children with Down Syndrome were left heartbroken as the rug was pulled out from underneath them and supports cut. Those in mainstream primary and post-primary schemes are to be excluded under DES draft guidelines on the Summer Provision. This follows on from decades of the DOE ignoring calls from parents of children with Down Syndrome and representative organisations to extend the July Provision scheme to their children without qualification. This is yet another cruel reversal as parents, children and organisation see their needs and rights turned into a political football – with work done or funding provided to actually helping them”
“There is no rhyme nor reason, no justification, no excuse for the Minister’s decision to now segregate children with Down Syndrome from the July Provision scheme on the basis of their schools. This government has systematically undermined the rights and protections of those with disabilities. Be it the cutting of AIM funding in the Childcare sector, or the double-speak regarding the July Provision – parents of those with disability have been shown no respect and afforded pitiful support by this government. The Minister should apologise for the distress and anguish his actions have caused to these children and their families, and prohibit any qualification to the availability of the July Provision scheme.”