Popstar and actor Keith Duffy was on hand last Friday morning in Kilcloon just outside Maynooth to do the honours at the official opening of Stepping Stones, a special school for children with Autism.
Chairman of the school Alan Doyle told a crowd of about 60 parents, friends and dignitaries of the history and struggles of local parents of children with autism to get the school up and running and to get it to a point where the Department of Education has now taken over the running of the school.
It’s been a 10 year journey for the parents who have lobbied, fundraised and built the school from nothing.
And Brian Murnane, the chairman of Irish Autism Action spoke of “the end of a long and arduous journey”.
“As parents of children with autism, you take the education of you children very seriously,” he noted.
Minister of State, Shane McEntee who was standing in for the Minister for Education Ruari Quinn who was unable to attend the launch said he was delighted to be there and noted that it was his first official engagement as a minister.
He said his personal view was that schools of this nature should be put at the top of the priority list and that mainstream schools should follow, not the other way round.
Keith Duffy spoke briefly about his own experience with his daughter Mia who has autism and the fight for services.
“All we want to do is give our kids a chance in life,” he said.