'Government must face up to shortcomings on special education provision': O'Sullivan 

One year on from General Election 2020, TDs from Cork North and South Central reflect on the last 12 months with Sarah O'Dwyer
'Government must face up to shortcomings on special education provision': O'Sullivan 

Pádraig O’Sullivan (FF) is elected on the 12th count at the Cork North Central Count Centre at Nemo Rangers GAA Club in Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Fianna Fáil’s Pádraig O’Sullivan was first elected in the November by-election of 2019, and just a few short months later had to run another campaign to ensure he held on to his seat in the Dáil.

He said he was disappointed with the national result overall in election 2020.

“Unfortunately the result was what it was and left very few options,” he said.

“Now that the coalition has been formed and in light of the multitude of challenges Covid has presented I think it’s incumbent on all public representatives to get on with the job at hand, preparing for Covid, mitigating against its worst impacts and instigating a recovery post Covid.”

He also said he’s disappointed that “politics has become so adversarial and we seem to talk more about who said what 10 years’ ago on Twitter or [who] made some other faux pas rather than dealing with substantive policy issues.

“Covid has undoubtedly contributed to that,” he said.

Covid has derailed much of his political work too, with regular clinics in the community having to be curtailed.

However, he highlighted a number of projects that have progressed in Cork North Central, including the Dunkettle Interchange, Cork Limerick motorway and Glanmire Flood Relief Scheme, but added that plans for the North Ring Road are moving slower than he would like.

Mr O’Sullivan said that he is disappointed to see “the time lost and regression in many special needs students during the pandemic”.

“I think we as a country, and I as part of a government, need to face up to our shortcomings in terms of our provision of education for people with additional needs.

“We need a root-and-branch reform of assessment of need, and also the clinical assessments that these children wait for,” he said.

Mr O’Sullivan is also set to contribute to a bill around knife crime, with Jim O Callaghan TD, as well as looking at introducing various ideas into planning and local government.

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