Scoil Aonghusa in Cashel, Co. Tipperary, to apply for major expansion - Lowry

Special Needs School experiencing a major 'crisis'

Eoin Kelleher


Eoin Kelleher


Scoil Aonghusa in Cashel, Co. Tipperary, to apply for major expansion - Lowry

Deputy Michael Lowry questioned An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil

Scoil Aonghusa is to host visiting officials this week with the aim of applying for major capital funding and significant expansion.

Deputy Michael Lowry briefed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil last week on the Special Needs School on the Cahir Road in Cashel.

In the 1970’s a group of forward thinking individuals set up a voluntary committee to meet the need of special children in South Tipperary who were at home without an educational service.

Since then the town of Cashel boasts the invaluable service of two special schools, Scoil Aonghusa and Scoil Chormaic which are centres of excellence with 50 years’ experience in this field. Scoil Chormaic caters for the needs of 220 students with Mild General Learning disabilities and students with ASD. Scoil Aonghusa caters for the needs of 97 students with Moderate Severe to Profound GLD with complex medical needs and life limiting conditions. It also caters for student’s aged 3-5yrs with ASD. Pupils attending both schools come from all over Tipperary, and parts of bordering counties of Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick, and Offaly.

However, Deputy Lowry said Scoil Aonghusa is experiencing a major crisis.

“A child attending Scoil Aonghusa will have little or no speech and may never acquire it, find it very difficult to learn new skills, need support with daily activities such as mobility, toileting, eating, dressing, washing, and keeping safe, have health problems from seizures, dietary and digestive condition issues. Many children have sensory issues, visual impairment and / or hearing impairment, psychiatric conditions, have difficulties with social skills, and need life-long support.”

"Without a doubt these are some of the most vulnerable children in our society and yet we have this shameful neglect and under resourcing of these special schools," said Deputy Lowry.

The school committee has also privately funded the drawing up of plans which have been submitted to the Department.

"The Principal of the school has clearly stated that the current situation cannot continue and that all possible adaptations of the existing building have already been exhausted. The critical state of the existing building means that staff are in constant and imminent danger. Already this year, three members of staff at the school are on injury leave."

“That cannot be allowed to continue. I ask that the Minister for Education and Skills address the chronic overcrowding and the unacceptable lack of facilities at Scoil Aonghusa. What we need is an urgent action plan to address and remedy what is an intolerable situation for management and staff at the school and the pupils who attend it,” concluded Deputy Lowry.

Full unedited version of this story in this week’s Tipperary Star.