A Dublin school that spoke out against what it called the unfair and discriminatory allocation of resources to some refugee children has been granted three additional teachers by the Department of Education.
St James's Primary School in Dublin 8 received a phone call this morning reversing a decision communicated to the school last week, which turned down its application for extra resources.
Yesterday, the principal of the school in the south inner city spoke to RTÉ News about how last week his application for additional English language teaching support for a large group of refugee children in his school was turned down by the Department of Education.
Most of the children came to the school unable to speak any English. While the majority of the them are asylum seekers from Africa, a smaller number have come from Ukraine.
The Department of Education has a separate application process for children fleeing the war in Ukraine, under which the allocation of additional resources is automatic.
However, this is not the case for children fleeing conflict in other countries.
Ciarán Cronin said he regarded the different treatment of children, based on the country they were fleeing from, as "slightly racist".
"It's not fair that one group of children is given more support than the other", he said, before adding: "That they get a different welcome depending on where they come from."
This morning, Mr Cronin received a phone call from the Department of Education and was told that the decision to turn down his application for additional language teaching hours (EAL) was being reversed.
He has now been granted one full-time EAL teacher for next year.
The Department of Education has also sanctioned two additional teachers for the school in recognition of the large number of new pupils it has enrolled.
Last March, the school was told by the child and family agency, Tusla, of 35 asylum seeker children living in Direct Provision at a Dublin hotel who had no school to go to.
On that same day Mr Cronin offered all 35 children a place at St James's and they enrolled later that month. The hotel the children are living in is not in the school’s catchment area, but it is connected to the school by the LUAS line.
"It was the right thing to do," Mr Cronin said.
Over the course of the same month, nine children from Ukraine were also enrolled.
The school has now been granted a total of three additional teachers to help support all these children.
"I’m thrilled" Mr Cronin said this morning. "I know everybody wants to help, but when it is not fair it is disappointing.
"This news today means that a large number of children, who have seen things that no child should see, will get the help that they need with the English language, so that they can express themselves and talk about what happened, and we all know how important that is."