THE principal of a north Kerry primary school which caters for children with autism has said he cannot afford to break a window in the school, such is the tight budget he is being forced to work with.
Ger Doyle of Killahan NS in Abbeydorney says that recent cuts to the Minor Works Grant for primary schools means his school is now down €6,400 in its annual budget - money which is essential to the running of the school.
Mr Doyle says thing have got so bad that he and his colleagues are being forced to run the school - which caters for 28 mainstream pupils and five autistic children - on a shoestring budget.
"These particular cutbacks vary¸ depending on the size of the school, but it means we're down €6,400 which is absolute disgrace for a school of this size," he said. "Our annual heating bill alone is almost at €4,000, so we can hardly afford to break a window at this stage."
Mr Doyle says that cutbacks of this scale prove once again that special needs services are 'the poor relation.'
Mr Doyle was speaking to The Kerryman ahead of one of the school's annual poker classics which takes place at McElligott's Bar, Abbeydorney, this Friday night. He said, now more than ever, the school needs the local community's help and is encouraging everyone to lend their support,
"This event usually brings in about €2,000 for the school, but this year it's more important than ever," he said.
Entry to the event is €30, with up to €1,700 in prize-money up for grabs.