Longford Senator queries why Clondra and Stonepark are not entitled to apply for CLÁR funding

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Fine Gael Senator Micheál Carrigy has called on his party colleague and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD to address the fact that Clondra and Stonepark, rural communities in county Longford, are not entitled to apply for CLÁR funding. 

Speaking in the Seanad, he pointed out that a full review was initiated by the Department from NUI in Maynooth to look at the patterns throughout the country on the basis of the 2016 Census, adding "this review needs to be published and these rural communities need to be included."

Senator Carrigy also raised the issue of special schools, suggesting 'it is an absolute disgrace the way this has gone on'. He added, "Fórsa needs to stand up and go back to work."

Senator Carrigy quoted from a letter sent to him by a parent with whom he spoke the previous week.

It stated: "I hold the Minister and all the Ministers in government accountable for my son's regression. I hold you responsible for all his loss of skills, the waste of years of emotional and financial investment by us and the school.

"I hold you accountable for his blocked access to his constitutional right for education. I write tonight for 113 days in 2020 and 25 days already in 2021.

"I hold you 100% responsible for the pain in my chest and the sleepless nights I endure.

"A Government with foresight would invest more wisely. Ironically we watch on while full-time salaries are paid in the name of teaching and helping our children.

"Justified by the term remote learning ... The time will come when a future Taoiseach will have to stand up and apologise for what has happened today in our country to our most vulnerable children [kids]."

Senator Carrigy concluded, "Members of the Fórsa union are working every day in adult services but our younger vulnerable children are not being looked after. It should immediately indicate a return to work. We need to prioritise those who are most vulnerable and regressing in our communities."