Archbishop Diarmuid Martin expressed his satisfaction that he has been able to facilitate the opening of a new special school in the Crumlin area that will offer urgently needed places to 36 children with autism and general learning disabilities.
There has been a serious shortage of special school places in South Dublin despite the opening of special class rooms in a number of mainstream schools under his patronage. The new special school will be established in 2021 on the campus of the former Scoil Colm in Crumlin, Dublin.
The archbishop said that addressing the needs of children with autism and other learning abilities is a challenge to our nation. He hoped that the shortage of places in other areas of the country will be addressed. Many parents had written to the archbishop in recent months expressing their frustration at the difficulties they faced in finding a place or where their children often had to travel considerable distance to school.
The archbishop expressed his gratitude to the Minister for Education, Norma Foley and to Minister Josepha Madigan for the urgency that they have dedicated in this area. He drew attention to the need to ensure that the needs of children with special educational needs be met through enhanced teacher training and to ensure delivery of the supports which the Department of Health are obliged to bring.
He hoped that the Catholic school system across the country, working also with other patron bodies, will endeavor to ensure that attention to the needs of children with special educational needs becomes a priority concern of national educational policy.