Homelessness, healthcare and education were some of the topics on the agenda at a special hustings in Dublin this morning, attended by our YSI students. The event hosted jointly by Barnardos, The Children's Right's Alliance and the ISPCC in the Carmelite Community centre Dublin saw a group of election candidates from Dublin and Carlow face a grilling from students in their constituencies. Three TDs attended - People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett, Labour Minister Kevin Humphries and Fianna Fáil's Robert Troy. While Councillors Kathleen Funchion, Kate O'Connell and Gary Gannon also took part in the Questions & Answers.
When invited to speak Marie McDonagh was not shy to speak about the necessity of SNA’s for children with disability questioning candidates “Do you know that about 1 in 5 children in primary school require additional supports? If you or your party is elected will you reverse the cuts to special needs provision in schools, increase the number of Special Needs Assistants, review the DEIS Programme immediately and make it a priority to tackle disadvantage?”
Nancy McDonagh put the candidates on the spot by asking them about the current pupil/teacher ratios.
Student Emma Murphy was particularly concerned about a shortage of homes for children across the country saying “There's around 2,500 vacant homes, but there's 1,400 children without a home in Ireland at the moment. They'll be living in hotels and not permanent homes at the moment so we were wondering what they going to do,” she said.
Following the meeting the girls were interviewed by a number of media organisations including Today FM and UTV.
The team, accompanied by teacher Sheila Coady are currently organising a colloquim – Rise Up Carlow on 1st March in an event to raise awareness and are asking supporters to “Make it your priority to stop Child Poverty”.