A Templemore Town Councillor this week publicly revealed the emotional impact which proposed cuts to support hours for special education pupils had on his family. Cllr. Michael Ryan has a six-year-old son who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and he came out forcibly against a reduction in the number of support hours which his son has been receiving. He candidly admitted that the issue was “tearing him apart” and he was appealing to parents and teachers to join him in a Tipperary-wide campaign to have more resource teachers allocated to pupils.
Cllr. Ryan was absolutely correct to attempt to mount a campaign for services which met the needs of his child. His upset was tangible and, as a member of Fine Gael, he expected a “slap on the wrist” from the party hierarchy as a result of his outspoken views. However, his first duty is not to a political party but to his family and he was right to mount a campaign to provide a better present and future for his son. That is not just his right, but his obligation.
Happily, common sense prevailed in the hours before we went to press and the Government reversed its plans to cut support hours. This will come as a welcome release to parents and families throughout the length and breadth of the country. There are some areas where cuts can be absorbed. This was not one of them and the Government was sensible to abandon its plans.