Education Minister says demands of teaching unions met, as local parent outlines her anger at school closures

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The Education Minister says lockdown has been a traumatic experience for children with special needs.

Children and parents have been left disappointed for a second time this month, after it was confirmed special schools will not reopen on Thursday.

Unions representing teachers and SNAs have not cooperated with the plan, saying there’s considerable fear and anxiety among staff.

Minister Norma Foley claims every request made by the INTO and Forsa was granted.

She says Ireland is now an outlier in Europe when in comes to special needs education.

Meanwhile a Tipperary mother of a child with special needs says she’s “very angry” towards the teaching unions, and is urging the Government to stand up to them.

Lynn from Carrick-on-Suir spoke on Tipp Today earlier about her 13-year-old son Leon, who has autism, and is unable to engage with online learning.

She says they’re “devastated” by last night’s decision to maintain the closure of schools after teaching unions said their safety concerns had not been addressed ahead of a potential reopening tomorrow.

Lynn says parents are at their wits end at the moment, and thinks the Government needs to take a harder line.

“They need to stand up to the unions as well. I know lots of teachers and SNA’s that want to go back to school – that think it can be run safely.”

“The unions need to be stood up to. I’m so angry towards the unions and this brushing it all off under the same umbrella of schools. The special schools and the tiny percentage of children that we’re talking about that need to be back in school is miniscule. I’m not talking about mainstream schools.”