Aughnacliffe's Cllr Garry Murtagh says State's autism support system is ‘not working’

Garry Murtagh

Fine Gael Cllr Garry Murtagh

Education Minister Norma Foley is facing growing calls to provide mandatory autism support units for children with spectrum disorders in areas most in high priority areas.

Fine Gael's Garry Murtagh said the State's current policy in meeting the demands of school communities at large was “simply not working”.

He said a growing cohort of parents were being left frustrated at having to enrol their children outside of their immediate catchement areas in order to meet their everday educational needs.

“(This is) adding additional stress on both the pupil and parents in normal times, let alone at a time of the current Covid national crisis and the extra demands and emotional strain associated with it,” he said.

The north Longford local politician's plea received the unanimous support of elected members at last week's county council meeting.

Fellow Fine Gael Cllr Paraic Brady said the issue was “one of the best motions to come before the council in a long, long time.”

Fianna Fáil's Pat O'Toole followed suit and suggested the debate was one which could receive similar backing at Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board level.

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