Special needs child, 11 year old Angel Mc Donagh faces into another week without schooling because of the failure of the Department of Education to provide the necessary resources to St Michael’s House, the special needs school, which her father was told could cater for her needs.
Despite recent comments by Minister for Education, Batt O’ Keefe and some media reports, which suggested Angel’s situation had been resolved, St Michael’s House remain unable to cater for her needs because of the refusal of the Department of Education to provide the needed resources.
While the Department of Education has just carried out an audit of the services and resources available at St Michael’s House, they are – to date – still maintaining that St Michael’s House is adequately resourced to cater for Angel’s needs.
The Department of Education’s view on the matter runs directly counter to the views expressed by the school to Mr Mc Donagh, who told Angel’s father that recent staff cut backs and a tightening on funding meant they did not have the necessary resources to cater for her.
The HSE which had similarly implied they would make resources available to assist Angel with her special therapy needs are also refusing requests by her father, James Mc Donagh, to hold a special case conference to discuss a comprehensive care package for his daughter.
Mr Mc Donagh made clear in a meeting with HSE representatives last week that he believed the situation was reaching crisis point and appealed for such a special case conference but the HSE refused his request and rejected the contention that there was any crisis.
In the meantime, the lack of schooling and therapy for Angel are leading to a steady decline in her general health and well-being and making the situation for her family near intolerable.
James Mc Donagh is now at his wits end in his efforts to get Angel into school and access the necessary resources to care for her.
James Mc Donagh said:
“It looked for a while, as a result of my protests and the media coverage they received that progress was being made but, in reality, Angel is still not in school and is still not receiving the therapy she needs. The bottom line here is that the Department of Education are still refusing St Michael’s House the resources they need to cater for Angel and the HSE is still not taking this situation seriously. Meanwhile, Angel is suffering and my family are finding it increasingly difficult to cope. I am really desperate and do not know where to turn. I appeal to the Batt O’ Keefe and the HSE to stop passing the buck and fobbing us off and honour their obligations to a vulnerable child.”
Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance, who has been assisting the Mc Donagh’s in highlighting Angel’s plight said:
“This situation is a pure disgrace. James Mc Donagh has done everything he possible could to get his daughter into school and get her health needs catered for but the Department of Education and the HSE seem not to care a whit about the rights of this desperately vulnerable child. One has to wonder if there is not a very cynical calculation going on here – namely that a disabled child from a poor background has little political clout and so no-one will really care what happens to her. Whatever the explanation, this appalling situation shows the terrible lie behind government claims that the vulnerable will be protected from the cut backs they are now imposing. How can these politicians and HSE executives, who pay themselves vast salaries, sleep at night when a special needs child is being neglected in this way? ”
For more info:
James Mc Donagh 085-7264302
Richard Boyd Barrett 087-6329511