Children with special needs will not be returning to the classroom this week after the Government was forced to abandon the plan.
The Department of Education says the decision was down to “a lack of co-operation” from teacher unions.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation and Forsa had earlier called on the minister to postpone the reopening, saying “efforts to reassure staff schools are safe had failed”.
Kilkenny Principal Joe McKeon is Vice President of the INTO. He’s been telling KCLR News this morning “The only good thing about yesterday is that safety is now the major consideration and that every pupil and every teacher and every SNA is safe, I think the last few days have been very difficult for everybody and I suppose what I would say to the parents of children with special needs is that the first thing we’re going to be doing today is to make sure that we make the schools a safe place so that we can have the children with special needs and all the other children back in school in a safe way as soon as possible”.
He adds “You can be quite clear, everybody is agreed that there should be supports for children with special needs, that they should return to school before other children and that we all have to make sure that it is safe for them to do so and that work will start today”.
Further talks between the Department and unions are expected over the coming days.
CEO of Inclusion Ireland, Enda Egan, says the news is devastating for the children and their families.
Sinn Fein’s education spokesperson, Donnchadh O’Laoghaire, says government has let children with special needs and their parents down.
Read the statement from the Education Department here