Dad confronts minister over Down's daughter
Published 11/09/2010 | 05:00
THE father of a schoolgirl with Down Syndrome yesterday broke down after challenging the Education Minister on his child's special education needs.
Andrew Boyle was granted a meeting with Mary Coughlan yesterday, after turning up at a ministerial engagement in north Cork.
His daughter Zoe (7) has had her Special Needs Assistance (SNA) hours slashed from 25 hours a week to just five.
Ms Coughlan promised to speak to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) regarding the girl's case. Zoe's family, friends, neighbours and community supporters have been staging silent protests outside Araglin National School, Co Cork, where she is a pupil.
After meeting Ms Coughlan yesterday, Mr Boyle said: "I am close to being a broken man since September 1 after Zoe's SNA hours were cut. September 1 now seems like six months ago," he said.
"I have to say I was very surprised that she (Mrs Coughlan) gave me the time. I am delighted and overwhelmed with her response -- hopefully this will now work," he said.
Zoe's family and friends have vowed to protest until the girl gets her SNA hours back.
"This is for our child's safety and education" said her mother, Annabel Boyle.