MORE than 1,000 people have signed a petition on Facebook in support of a Down Syndrome child whose has had her Special Needs Assistant support decreased by the state.
Annabelle Boyle said she was greatly heartened by the number of people signing the petition on behalf of her seven-year-old daughter, Zoe.
For the past two years, a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) was providing five hours a day support for the child while she was attending Araglin National School in north Cork.
However, the National Council for Special Education last week cut the SNA service to just one hour a day.
Last week, more than 60 parents and other members of the local community held a silent protest outside the school to highlight Zoe’s plight.
Ms Boyle said another protest would be held today at 9.30am outside the school.
“We are hoping twice as many people will turn up this time.”
Zoe’s elder sister Alice set up the Facebook petition page entitled “Petition to reinstate Zoe’s SNA hours”.
“We are hoping to get 5,000 signatures on it and we intend to hand it over to the National Council for Special Education,” Ms Boyle said.
Archbishop Dermot Clifford has written to the National Council for Special Education asking them to look favourably on reinstating Zoe’s SNA on a five-hour a day basis.
The National Council for Special Education has said it will carry out a review of Zoe’s situation and make a decision on the case on September 26.
“We’re worn out fighting. The only thing that’s keeping us going is the support of local people and the greater community,” Ms Boyle added.
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