The parents of two young boys who have been diagnosed with autism have appealed to the Minister for Education to keep specialist preschool education classes open.

Otherwise, they say they will have to separate their children and send them to two different primary schools.

Patrick McCauley and his partner Sinead want to send their son Shane to join his brother Callum in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, but the school says the National Council for Special Education has withdrawn preschool facilities.

Callum is five, while his brother Shane will be three next year.

Both have been diagnosed with autism.

The NCSE says at the moment there is no demand for the preschool class.

It says it will consider it if others apply for enrolment after a diagnosis of autism.