Sir, – September 1st is fast approaching. My daughter aged seven is due to start second class in “mainstream” and all is well. She doesn’t have special education needs. On the other hand my son, aged six is due to start “big” school in St Raphael’s special school in Celbridge, but he has only been offered one hour per day schooling for the forseeable future while the school reviews the situation.

The National Council for Special Education and Special Educational Needs Organisers have not allocated enough Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to the school. They have said the school has its full allocation and will not be getting any further allocation.

My son and two other children are in this situation, where they have only been offered one hour schooling. We are all devastated. My son is classed as Severe to Profound and needs a full-time SNA in order attend school.

After a summer of dread and worry, protests, interviews on radio, TV and newspapers, and meeting after meeting with TDs and the Minister for Children, nothing has changed.

I have written to the Disability Federation of Ireland, the Ombudsman for Children and the Equality Authority and still nothing. Next port of call is the European Court of Human Rights. Apparently there is “no such thing” as a class action suit in Ireland. But there is a first time for everything.

My son was in hospital for a few days last week and we are in and out for bloods all the time, as are most people in our situation. Life is hard enough. Isn’t this a disgrace in a first world country in 2011? I am so upset, annoyed and exhausted. – Yours, etc,


Boston Road,



Co Kildare.