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December 2015
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Michael Lowry – Special Educational Needs ‘Bureaucratic Purgatory’

In one of his strongest statements yet, when speaking in relation to children with special needs, Independent Tipperary TD Mr Michael Lowry has accused the present government of ‘muddled policies’, ‘crisis to crisis’ management, with teachers and parents nationally being left in ‘bureaucratic purgatory’.

In his statement to Dáil Éireann, on Wednesday last, 25th November 2015, the Deputy asserted:- [Video shown here.]  (Note: Please move video time-line to 0.36.00 to view and hear Mr Lowry’s strong Dáil Éireann statement in full.)

North Tipperary Independent TD Michael Lowry

Co. Tipperary Independent TD Michael Lowry.

“The refusal by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to approve services at Scoil Aonghusa Cashel is causing unwarranted hardship and inconvenience.

The experience of parents and their teachers regarding children with special educational needs over the lifetime of this government has become a national disgrace. Continuous muddled government policies over how to provide for such children, together with the shortage of resources and the non-availability of facilities, consign many to what can only be described as ‘bureaucratic purgatory’.

These problems are further exacerbated by parents being forced to lurch from ‘crisis to crisis’ trying to ensure that their children receive a basic education appropriate to their needs, while also endeavouring to locate a continuous and safe environment. All too often, parents with children of special needs, spend a large proportion of their earnings, not to mention months of precious time, to find that there are insufficient services or they have to wait weeks, months, even years before they can get therapy and support for their child.

Last Monday night, I attended a meeting in ‘Scoil Aonghusa’ school in Cashel. This co-educational school which facilitates 85 individuals with multiple physical, emotional and other learning difficulties. These pupils need immediate specialist services and are receiving very little support or funding from the Health Service Executive. I am aware that this is a national issue but similarly another school ‘Scoil Cormaic’, based too in Cashel, who assist upto 223 children and young adults, also see the constant re-occurrence of minimal services being provided.

The introduction of the Progressive Disability Services for Children and Young Children established by the Health Service Executive to change the way services are provided, is a haphazard, unpredictable, ‘billy- to- jack’, delivery of service and therapy. This project is not going to alleviate any problem. We need services delivered consistently and cohesively and in collaboration with parents and teachers. We need to start listening to parents and teachers who care for these children every day. Both are acutely aware of what needs to be undertaken and how efficient delivery of such services can be fully achieved.

Children with special needs should have access to all the specialist therapy and supports they require not out of luxury, but out of necessity. Lack of funding for services is the current governments daily recited turn of phrase that parents and teachers hear repeatedly, but shouldn’t we find that funding, and shouldn’t funding for children with special needs be a first priority? We need to ensure that everything is in place for them to be enabled to reach their full potential. Instead, without funding and adequate numbers of therapists the government is guilty of preventing these children from reaching their potential, when life has already put enough obstacles in their way.

Yes, we have moved on in terms of assessing and diagnosing children, but support and services for children with special needs has not. Children with special needs are still not receiving the support they need and deserve, in this country. What good is an assessment or a diagnosis, without follow up therapy and support from specialists? It just gives parents and teachers a keyword to research on ‘Google’.

It is evident that this continued chaos of care and services is not at fault with psychologists or therapists, their case-loads are simply too big to meet the needs of so many children. In the absence of services, our teachers are to be applauded for the incredible work they are undertaking to meet the requirements of these children and the after school support they are also providing to parents.

In our last budget we heard that there are more resource and learning support teaching positions being sanctioned. It is obvious that these posts are vital and should continue to increase, however what you don’t hear and what these announcements hide is the fighting, pleading and justification that schools and parents have to make to get these posts. What you don’t hear is how overwhelmed teachers and parents are, to meet the needs of children when there are little or no therapists or services. We need more specialist therapists and psychologists and we need them available to schools, to parents and ultimately to the children with additional needs, who deserve them. We need this as a matter of priority,” stated Michael Lowry

Note – Blood Pressure Road Show For Thurles

Heart AppealWith heart disease now acknowledged as responsible for the highest death rates in Ireland, Anner Hotel Leisure Centre staff here in Thurles have vowed to assist both their Leisure Centre members and the general public in their quest to achieve better overall heart health.

To this end therefore they have held various events, each open to the general public, e.g. On September 1st last, a talk on how to have a healthy heart and C.P.R demonstrations performed by a local paramedic.

Free Blood Pressure Road Show – Tuesday September 29th 2015, supported by Medtronic.

On Tuesday September 29th 2015 from 10:00am1:00pm the Blood Pressure Road Show will be on site at the Anner Hotel, taking free blood pressure readings and giving out result cards.

Note: This event is readily open to the general public.

For more information please feel free to contact the Anner Leisure Centre on Tel: 0504 21164.

To further facilitate those unable to attend on the morning of Tuesday September 29th 2015, this Mobile Clinic will move to a new located on Lower Liberty Square, Thurles, (Positioned outside Catherine Maher Pharmacy and Mary Duffy Hair Salon – by the kind assistance and permission of Templemore / Thurles  Municipal District Council), from 2:00pm6:00pm.

So please do take the chance to avail of this wonderful opportunity to have your blood pressure checked, in the certain and clear knowledge that there are no fee’s payable for this service and no donations expected.

As stated, this Clinic is operated by the Irish Heart Foundation and for more advice on ‘Healthy Heart’ please CLICK HERE.

MIC To Incorporate St. Patrick’s College Thurles

St Patrick's College, Thurles

St Patrick’s College, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Yesterday Mary Immaculate College (MIC), latter founded in 1898, announced an expansion of its geographical footprint, following their incorporation of St. Patrick’s College, here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, has been long synonymous with education dating back to 1837. Indeed the foundation stone was laid in the presence of the Great Liberator, Daniel O’Connell in 1829.

Today, the Thurles College offers four concurrent degree programmes which are designed to prepare students to become second-level teachers. These programmes are validated by the University of Limerick and are accredited by the Irish Teaching Council.

As a result of this announced incorporation, which is expected to take place formally in 2016, MIC will become a multi-campus institution offering 9 undergraduate degree programmes in Education and the Liberal Arts, as well as a wide range of continuing professional development offerings for teachers and numerous postgraduate opportunities at Masters and PhD level.

This incorporation will now consolidate the position of MIC as the most significant provider of initial teacher education outside of Dublin and Prof. Michael A. Hayes President of MIC, paid tribute to the current President of St. Patrick’s College, Fr. Tom Fogarty, commending him on his stewardship of St. Patrick’s College since May 2004.

The welcome announcement for Thurles was also greatly acknowledged by Mr. Tom Boland the Chief Executive of the Higher Executive Authority (HEA), whose officials were closely involved in the negotiations between MIC and St. Patrick’s College.

Thurles Public Invited To Attend Barbecue

Wetland WritersThe Hidden Tipperary Tourism Group, (Latter which includes Upperchurch Hill Walking, Upperchurch Climbing Wall, Lar na Pairce & Semple Stadium, St Mary’s Famine Museum, Cormackstown Heritage Centre, Cabragh Wetlands, Holycross Abbey Tours, Farney Castle, The Source, Templemore Town Park and Hayes Hotel) are inviting everyone to a Barbecue at Cabragh Wetlands, here in Thurles on Friday next July 17th.

This fund raising event will begin sharp at 6.30pm and run until 10:00pm with tickets costing €10 per person or €30 per family.

The event on the evening will include Food, Music and other entertainment; with those attending permitted to bring along their own beer/ wine.

This event is being held in order to raise funding for the publication of a Secondary Schools Brochure, latter which will highlight primary source educational opportunities here in Mid-Tipperary and thus encourage participating schools to visits the many educational primary source facilities now available in Thurles and surrounding areas.

For further information and tickets please contact the Cabragh Wetlands Office, Tel: 0504-43879, or Mobile: 086-3179919.

Ursuline Primary School – Saturday Family Fun Night


Scoil Angela the Ursuline primary school here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary are moving in force to Thurles Greyhound Stadium tomorrow night, Saturday June 20th 2015.

With the school’s annual summer holidays starting next week and led by the school’s active Parents Council, this very fine and long establishment centre of excellence will host a ‘Family Fun Race Night’, which will kick off in the stadium at 8.00 pm sharp.

Those wishing to attend tomorrow night’s superbly organised events can purchase tickets costing €10 each (between now and then), from the Arch Bar or this afternoon directly from the offices of Scoil Angela, both situated on Liberty Square in the town.

Amongst a host of events organised and taking place will be the ever popular Dog Racing, €500 Prize Draw, Music, Raffles, Face Painting, Numerous Spot Prizes, a ‘Best Dressed’ Competition,’ (Remember choose that ‘gúna’ carefully ladies) and expect one or two very special guests to make their appearance, during the course of what promises to be a most enjoyable and well planned evening event.

Proceeds raised will be used to develop already existing school playground facilities and to further upgrade the schools extensive IT learning programme.

So do please, please support, we promise you that the ‘craic’ will be mighty tomorrow night.

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