SOLIDARITY TRADE UNION National Executive member Simone Clarke has spoken out in support of third level education, specifically for those with special needs.
Her comments came after a recent Solidarity article, which featured a letter from a Northern Ireland-based mother of a child with Autism. The mother explained that her son would be effectively “put out to grass” once he leaves school. This is because Adult Services in her area is “woefully inadequate”.
Commenting on the article - Equality for All? - Ms. Clarke said:
“As a mother myself I can totally empathise with her comments. Jobs are hard enough to come by for children without a disability. I dread to think what its like for those with special needs.”
She also thought that the lack of specialist third level education in Northern Ireland could be regarded as an abuse of human rights.
Ms. Clarke said that she thought that the government could easily make a start on planning this third level education, “because they need to be investing in peace – and not war.”
“In the past I’ve been really critical of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s record in Iraqi and Afghanistan. I find it really ironic that so-called ‘socialists’ can always find money for war – but not for peace.
Blair and Brown had their priorities all wrong. Finding money for missiles, bombs and bullets seems to be no problem. Finding money to bail out the bankers and speculators seems to be no problem.
But finding money for schools, hospitals and jobs is the ultimate no-no. Why is that?”
Ms. Clarke added that she hoped that the Con-Dem coalition government would be anti-war:
“Britain should mind its own business. We shouldn’t be playing Deputy Dawg to the US Government Global Sheriff. As I said before, we should be investing in peace – and not war.
The money we’re wasting on war could be put to better use. Instead of cuts in our public services – health, welfare, schools and transport – we could be improving them.
And we could be planning the future for third level special needs education. At least this will give our children with special needs a real chance in life.”