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Free GP child plan is 'unfair' given the state of disability services, says Brendan O'Connor

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Brendan O'Connor

RTE star Brendan O'Connor has hit out at free GP visits to under-sixes, saying that it is an ‘unfair scheme’ to introduce when those with disabilities still lack access to educational support.

The Saturday Night Show host’s daughter Mary was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome at birth but was refused special consideration and resources because she is deemed to have a "mild" version of the condition.

Speaking to Marian Finucane, the 45-year-old vented his frustration at the decision, saying that the money needed to support children with developmental difficulties paled in comparison to what would be spent on the Government’s under-sixes scheme.

“Pretend that the child is more retarded than they are, that’s what we were told to do,” he said. 

“That’s the advice you get – keep them up all night before the appointments. Talk down to them.”

Surprised by the positive reaction to his piece, Mr O’Connor said that he thought it had helped people open their eyes to the intrusive nature of judging which children would receive support.

“I think a lot of people were generally shocked by how we grade vulnerable people like potatoes – deciding who gets help, and who gets tossed aside.”

“For us, it is not a vanity thing for Mary to go to a ‘mainstream’ school. It is doing what is best for her.”

Online Editors