A mé féiner is a selfish person, someone who only looks after their own interests and possibly to the detriment of others.
I first heard of "mé féin" at a dinner out with a bunch of girls who all met while trying to improve a little South Dublin Autism School, and ended up becoming great friends in the process.
They were explaining about a local national school where parents had taken legal action to block a sibling enrolment, in order to move themselves further up the list.
So the family concerned now had two kids going to two different schools. Mé féin, Me First. Lovely. (NOT!)
Now my friends are not like this. We always worked together to improve things not only for our kids, but everyone else in the school, and hopefully elsewhere.
So who were these people who would pursue an objective that actually denies others the chance to benefit?
And then I thought about it a bit more and realised they were all around. Recognisable by their absence.
Their absence from the wider Autism Forum, their inability to engage with anyone who might be pursuing a different route (whether by choice or circumstance) and their indifference to the challenges faced by these people and their parents.
I've never seen them supporting a parent with of a child with Aspergers, in need of Advocacy in order to make a secondary school place work out.
Or someone whose child is doing so well that they are being kicked OUT of the Autism Clinical services, without a referral to anywhere else.
Or someone who has just been diagnosed, and is hitting a brick wall when applying for entitlements.
Or someone who's waited 12 months to GET a diagnosis, and has been told they have to wait another 18 months!
Try getting a mé féiner to wear a t-shirt to support greater Autism Awareness,
or shake a bucket, sponsor you or stand outside a shopping centre selling badges or lego puzzle pieces to help fund Advocacy, Diagnosis, Information, Counseling and Online Support.
What I do see a lot of people posting their support and advice on these questions when they come up on the Irish Autism Action Facebook Wall.
Everyday I see parents leaving a message to explain how they got the DCA on appeal, or kept their SNA, or convinced the local Autism services to give them a few hours of desperately needed respite.
But the mé féiner is conspicuous by their absence.
They also seem to be ignorant of the wider special needs community - which is being severely hard hit in the current economic climate.
Can't see the mé féiner posting on the Special Needs Parents Facebook Page!
This is a fantastic page that unites with a common goal of securing the potential of ALL special needs kids by maintaining their educational and clinical supports.
Or the Inclusion Ireland facebook page.
These guys are the umbrella body for over 160 organisations providing services and support to the almost 28,000 people with an intellectual disability in Ireland.
These amazingly motivated people take a Big Picture view.
Hopefully their own families will also benefit from their hard work and persistence. Because many many others will benefit too.
With another tranche of cutbacks and 'savings' to be dragged out of government departments; we're going to have to stick together to get through this. So:
Ní neart go chur le chéile*
(*it is only by working together that we will be strong)