• Funding Essential to Fully Reopen Schools
    Parents for Change is a grassroots activist group helping parents assert their voice in Irish society. The right to education is at the forefront of our constitution. Schools are important for the social, emotional and educational development of our children. Schools also provide the economic benefit of stable and cost-effective childcare in a society with a desperately inadequate childcare system. There has been a glaring omission in the roadmap to opening Irish society: schools. There are less than 7 weeks left until the start of the next educational term, yet there is no definitive plan for the education of our children. If the rest of Irish society can open safely, then so too can our schools, with the proper planning and investment. Other countries have shown us that this can be done safely and current HSE research suggests that schools are not a high risk setting for Covid 19. Where there is political will, there is a way. Parents are no longer willing or able to juggle working from home, caring for children and home schooling. Parents accepted this as an emergency measure, but this is no longer acceptable. Plans for blended learning are not a sustainable option for parents or children. The Covid 19 crisis has highlighted many inadequacies in the Irish educational system: years of systemic underfunding; poor pupil/teacher ratios (one of the highest in the OECD); poor school infrastructure including small classrooms; the use of prefabs and no hot water etc. The Department of Education needs to show decisive leadership on the issue of schools reopening fully. Schools cannot operate in a vacuum and direction must come from the top down. Parents for Change supports teachers, principals and teachers’ unions in their drive to open schools safely and are therefore advocating for immediate funding packages to be made available. If funding is in place schools can: · Open fully in September 2020. · Hire more teachers/SNAs to reduce class sizes and allow for social distancing. · Use substitute teachers to fill in for staff absences due to Covid or other illnesses. · Build temporary or permanent structures on school grounds to allow for smaller classes/social distancing. · Hire alternative venues for classes to allow for social distancing (local sports clubs etc). · Hire more cleaners. · Improve cleaning and hygiene standards, including availability of hot water. · Provide face coverings if age appropriate. · Implement strong policies on personal responsibility and sickness within the school community. · Arrange staggered pick up and drop off times for pupils. · Provide safe school transportation. · Provide technology to pupils where necessary to allow them to participate in online learning if in social isolation/quarantine. · Provide extra support for vulnerable children where there might be limited capacity for teaching in the home and ensure they are not left behind. If blended learning is used, it must be for short, specific time periods (e.g. educating children during social isolation/quarantine). Parents need to be able to access government funded paid leave from work during this period and the government must negotiate this with employers. Schools, ECL and childcare are the bedrock of the economy and should be treated like frontline, essential services. Without them, parents cannot participate in the economic recovery of our country. We must invest now in education both for the health of our economy and our nation. We cannot afford not to. Please sign our petition.
    256 of 300 Signatures
    Created by Jane Toolan
  • Prioritise school re-openings in September 2020
    Remote learning is not a feasible long term substitute to in-school education. Re-opening of schools should be prioritised over the aviation and tourism industries.
    274 of 300 Signatures
    Created by Molly Hurley
  • Outdoor Education as a COVID solution
    As children return to school in Ireland, the risk of a second wave of COVID will grow. Most schooling means spending long hours, indoors, in close contact but it doesn't have to be that way. A way to minimise this risk, whilst benefiting from nature, is to teach outdoors as much as possible. This has already been done in previous pandemics and is now being tried in Denmark, USA and UK amongst other countries m as part of the covid response. There are many co-benefits to child well-being in spending more time outside, such as nurturing a closer connection to nature and fighting obesity. I am calling on the government to consider this as part of the return to school and to provide resources to schools to build suitable outdoor class shelters. See: https://childhoodbynature.com/the-case-for-learning-outside/
    56 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Lorna Tevnan
  • Public Benefit Manifesto for Roscam Peninsula and A Legacy Project Proposal for Galway 2020
    This Global Public Benefit Manifesto for the Roscam Peninsula, if well executed, will lead to the preservation & restoration of the National Monument and preserve the surrounding pastoral landscape of this Bronze age settlement and create an iconic “Sustainable by Design” Culture, Heritage, Arts and Theatre experience embedded within a dramatic natural seaside parkland setting. This can be a cornerstone Galway 2020 Legacy Project to mark Galway's year as European City of Culture
    66 of 100 Signatures
    Created by James McCarthy
  • Reform the Sex Education Curriculum in Ireland
    The current curriculum is falling short for students. There is little coverage on safe sex for non-heterosexual people, sexual consent for all ages or inclusivity for transgender and non-binary people. The repercussions of a poor sex education is harmful for all students.
    24 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Katie Gartland
  • Put Anti-Racism Education on the Curriculum
    Children as young as six years old often show prejudiced attitudes towards people of other ethnic groups. This is especially true with White children who tend to display more racial bias than other groups. Racially-biased children may grow up to be prejudiced adults and this contributes to racism in our society. Children will "naturally" grow up to be non-racist adults only when they live in a non-racist society. Until then, adults must guide children's antiracist development. It is therefore incredibly important that education about race and racism is begun at the earliest stage possible, and continued throughout children’s time in the education system.
    95 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Claire Brennan
  • Make Play and Leisure Spaces Accessible
    I am writing to you today as a primary school teacher, and more importantly as a mother of two young boys who are disabled. My four year old is a full-time wheelchair user and we are unsure yet as to whether his younger brother will also require a wheelchair. My boys are both bright, intelligent, inquisitive children who are highly sociable. In light of current events during this pandemic, I have seen so many parents and teachers discuss how this may impact our kids and the overwhelming consensus amongst us all have been concerns regarding the possible implications on their social development as they cannot play with their friends, explore nature, play freely and make new friends at local playgrounds etc. It has really made me stop and think as these have been ongoing concerns of mine due to our sons’ mobility needs. The truth of it is, we have found it very difficult to find playgrounds where Oscar can play. As well as not having any wheelchair friendly equipment for use, many playgrounds have completely inaccessible ground coverings like tree bark. I’m a firm believer that if I have an issue with something, I will try to offer alternative suggestions in order to help resolve said issue. A simple Google image search for ‘wheelchair friendly activities in playground’ yields a plethora of equipment that is accessible not only for users of wheelchairs, walkers and buggies, but also for children without disabilities. Slieve Gullion Forest Park is close to where we live and would be the best we have experienced. It’s not lost on me that this particular playground is in Northern Ireland, where the UK has much stricter protocol for accessible planning regulations. Within my local area in recent times, I’ve seen two new playgrounds built, one completely inaccessible to wheelchairs due to the bark surfaces and use of steep hills in its designs. It absolutely baffles me how in these times when we are seemingly a progressive country, that we completely omit the needs and right to play of a whole category of children. We teach inclusion and diversity in our schools every day, yet when this is not practised by our leaders, it is unforgiveable. We cannot accept this as an oversight any longer, we cannot accept the meagre list of accessible playgrounds dotted few and far between across the entire country. There is very little opportunity for a family to engage in a spontaneous stop-off at the playground when the statistics show that the playground will more than likely be inaccessible for the disabled child. Accessibility needs to be engrained within everything we plan for our public spaces. Untold damage is being done to our disabled children when they are being excluded and made to feel less than in their own hometowns. - Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that: “Every child is entitled to rest and play and to have the chance to join in a wide range of activities including cultural and artistic activities.” - Article 30(5d) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that “children with disabilities should have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities, including those activities in the school system.” Outdoor natural areas are another area which raise accessible issues within the disability community. I can only speak from my own experience, as an avid nature lover and mother to two children with mobility needs. I understand that the natural world is best left to its own devices and can be highly inaccessible. However, a lot of our natural amenities that are open to the public have some sort of surface laid down as a path for the public to use. Why not go one step further and make sure that surface is also wheelchair friendly? The choice of what gravel is used can make all the difference for wheelchair users’ accessibility. The Irish Wheelchair Association has published a guide called The Great Outdoors which provides excellent detail. As an island country, our beaches are areas of beauty which everyone should be able to access, and not just from the side-lines. Beach wheelchairs are available at some sites, but not nearly enough, particularly at times of the year when they are in high demand. Availability of sand mats such as Access Trax would open up access immensely. “Foldable, lightweight, portable pathways for accessibility over outdoor terrain” would allow wheelchair users to roll right onto the beach as well as walking mobility aids, buggies and prams. - Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises that disabled people should “Enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services, and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.” As an educator and a parent, all I want is for my children to be allowed every and equal opportunity to thrive and make their mark on the world. I am available for any discussion should you wish, but I would ask you to note that I am just one voice of many. My voice pertains to my experience as a parent of my disabled children. There are many voices of other parents , but most importantly voices of disabled adults who have lived through experiences of being excluded and treated differently and unfairly. This is only one area of accessibility we have come up against, and unfortunately, I am not naïve enough to hope that it is our last.
    833 of 1,000 Signatures
    Created by Munny Hamilton
  • Remove Columbus Memorial in Galway
    In light of the global Black Lives Matter movement, Galway City cannot, in all conscience, allow a memorial to a coloniser who stands for the millennia of systemic oppression, murder and enslavement of millions of non-white peoples to remain, as if his supposed brief visit to Galway was something to be proud of. It needs to be removed immediately, and better still, be replaced with a memorial to his victims.
    132 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Miriam de Búrca
  • Growing Clongriffin
    Growing local community, business and amenities.
    739 of 800 Signatures
    Created by Игор Давид
  • Save Cavan Midwifery Led Unit (MLU)
    A still unknown decision has led to the MLU in Cavan being effectively closed in all but name under the guise of a merger with the consultant-led unit. This may be the third time Cavan MLU has faced closure and the pregnant people in the area have faced limitation of their care choices. The effective closure of the Midwifery-Led Unit on Monday 1st of June 2020 and the manner in which this decision has been taken, with no public consultation or formal announcement from either Cavan General Hospital or the RSCI group, who we understand are leading of this decision, shows a clear lack of understanding to the needs of those in the surrounding area. The claim that it is not a downgrading of service provision is simply false. For all who have accessed the MLU, either as a service user, healthcare professional or student, this closure will have significant impact on practice and care provision. To our knowledge, no rationale has been given to explain the decision. National and international evidence supports the expansion of midwifery led services. Closure of the unit limits choices for pregnancy care in direct opposition of this evidence. We cannot emphasise strongly enough 1. The retrograde nature of this decision which flies in the face of all the international evidence on best birth practices 2. And which spells the death knell of the 2016 Maternity Strategy which was specifically committed to the expansion of MLUs, not their closure Our model of maternity care relies on the majority of women going through a system of GP referral to an obstetric unit or maternity hospital. Despite the National Maternity Strategy, the dominant model of care across all our 19 maternity units is a consultant-led model of care. We have only the two midwifery-led units in Ireland (Cavan and Drogheda) and midwifery clinics across the maternity system are far too few. -- In international terms, our model of maternity care does not offer women choice of models of maternity care, something the National Maternity Strategy acknowledges clearly. Indeed, the Irish model of maternity care is at odds with best international evidence on the effectiveness of models of maternity care - The 2016 National Maternity Strategy, called for many more MLUs to be built. Instead this has not only been completely stalled - its implementation committee has met only four times up to 2019 (PQ 14615-19; PQ 14616) and the budget of the strategy has been slashed - The HIQA maternity report (February 2020) highlighted the lack of progress in supported care pathways under the National Maternity Strategy The 2003 Hanly Report on medical staffing with its overall aim of increasing still further centralisation of all hospital services continues to cast a shadow over the relevance of the small Cavan MLU – which has never had the full support of senior clinical and management staff in Cavan. If it had, it would be used to capacity and would not now be ‘merged’ with the consultant-led services. Who is affected? *this is not an exhaustive list of affected groups* Pregnant people are entitled to choice in care provision. There is no evidence at present to show that this has been supported or considered in the move to close the Cavan MLU. We hope to hear from service users to determine what plans are in place for those currently booked in the unit, those who were potentially being transferred back to the service following obstetric assessment, and those who had previously or planned to access midwifery led care in Cavan. Supporting practitioners in the Cavan/Monaghan area to continue the provision of Midwifery Led Care is vital. Evidence of support and solutions offered thus far to the midwives within the unit is needed so that as a national community of professionals and experts in normal pregnancy care can come together to save Cavan MLU. Midwives are the experts in providing pregnancy care and a wealth of evidence supports this model, referred to as “supported care” in the Maternity Strategy. Student midwives who began their training from 2018 in Dundalk Institute of Technology must complete Midwifery Led Unit placement experience as a core area, a change from its specialist area status before 2018. This reflects the importance of midwifery led care experience in well rounded learning. If Cavan MLU were to close, students would be limited to the Drogheda MLU to achieve the hours in order to qualify and register as midwives. It is already difficult for these MLU hours to be achieved between two units with the number of students requiring the necessary time in midwifery led services. The limitations that this closure will place on students has immediate and long-term consequences. Students in the 2019 cohort were due to attend Cavan MLU for placement in March/April and must make up this time due to COVID19. These students are now in limbo regarding completing these hours and gaining critical core learning experience. USEFUL LINKS; National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026 >> https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/0ac5a8-national-maternity-strategy-creating-a-better-future-together-2016-2/ HIQA Maternity Services report February 2020 >> https://www.hiqa.ie/sites/default/files/2020-02/Maternity-Overview-Report.pdf HSE / TCD 2009 MidU study >> https://nursing-midwifery.tcd.ie/assets/publications/pdf/midu-report.pdf Association for Improvements in the Maternity Service Ireland - Midwifery Led Care information >> http://aimsireland.ie/midwife-led-care/#:~:text=Midwife%2Dled%20services%20for%20eligible,further%20attention%20 AIMSI “What Matters to You” Survey 2014/2015 >> http://aimsireland.ie/care-choices/ Bump2Babe – Cavan General Hospital survey answers CLU >> http://www.bump2babe.ie/all-answers/unit/0/ MLU >> http://www.bump2babe.ie/all-answers/unit/1/
    11,584 of 15,000 Signatures
    Created by Laura Henry
  • Say No to the Mow in Co. Wicklow
    During this pandemic, many of our green areas have been allowed to grow wild, with no council mowing ongoing. Which is great! Green areas have been allowed to flourish with flowers growing through them. Widespread population declines of bees and other pollinators from habitat loss are a growing concern. However, spontaneous flowers like dandelions and clover can provide pollen and nectar sources throughout the growing season....... Therefore, please don't mow, don't spray, let them grow!
    637 of 800 Signatures
    Created by Anita Tuesley
  • Stop the Transfer Test
    Our children's mental health is being put at risk by the failure to put them first, and drop the transfer test. Young children of 10 and 11 should not be made to sit tests in the midst of a pandemic. The absence of the formal education setting means that those impacted by poverty will be even more disadvantaged, and put under additional mental health stress.
    31 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Nicola Browne