School place found for teenager with special needs

Friday 22 March 2013 17.04
James McDonagh had said his daughter's Constitutional right to free education was 'meaningless'
James McDonagh had said his daughter's Constitutional right to free education was 'meaningless'

A teenage girl with wide ranging special needs who has been out of school for more than a year is to be provided with a school place, the High Court has been told.

Angel McDonagh's father James, from Rathfarnham in Dublin, had gone to court seeking orders compelling the Minister for Education to get her into a school.

Judgment was due to be delivered at the High Court this morning, but the court was told a school place had now been found for the 14-year-old.

At a hearing last month, the court was told Angel had a range of conditions including spina bifida, ADHD, conduct and attachment disorders and an intellectual disability.

She had been out of school for more than a year and was receiving some home tutoring.

Her father claimed her constitutional right to free education was "meaningless" unless the minister took steps to find her a school place.

The teenager had been excluded from school due to her challenging behaviour and required a range of support services and treatment, the court was told.

Social workers said Angel needed a school place with the necessary supports while a psychologist's report stated she needed to learn how to interact with other children.

Her father had appealed under the Education Act against her exclusion but the appeal was rejected, counsel added.

Although the court action was adjourned seven times since being initiated last November, there was still no school identified for Angel when the case was heard last month.