‘Our education system is broken’ – Kilkenny TD appointed Sinn Féin spokesperson for children
By COLIN BARTLEY
A KILKENNY TD has vowed to be “a voice for those who have been ignored” after she was appointed her party’s spokesperson for children and youth affairs.
Local Sinn Féin Deputy Kathleen Funchion said children and the young people of Ireland have been “consistently failed” by the Fine Gael-led minority government.
She added: “Children and young people in Ireland face unprecedented challenges and difficulties not of their own making.
“There are 3,000 children who do not have a place to call home. These places huge burdens in terms of social exclusion and access to education.
“Our schools must be resourced adequately to provide equally for all children who attend – with or without additional needs. The education system is broken for a disconcerting number of autistic children and their families.”
The Kilkenny TD said areas such as foster care and mental health services must be addressed immediately.
Deputy Funchion added: “Our foster care system has repeatedly shown that the Government is not paying due concern to the conditions that some children find themselves in.
“Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are woefully underfunded and under-resourced.”
Deputy Funchion said the Government must do a lot more to encourage youth representation, especially as more and more young people are becoming socially aware.
“Democratic representation of young people has also suffered under this government as Fine Gael has reneged on the referendum on lowering the voting age to 16,” the Kilkenny TD added.
“We have seen what these young people can do when they come together, such as in the climate strike protests. Increasingly, children have shown that they have a level of political and social awareness that can dwarf that of their elders. I look forward to helping augment and amplify their voices.”