Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - School Attendance Act.

80.

asked the Minister for Education the number of children at present undergoing corrective training in institutions for non-attendance at school.

There are at present 39 children being cared for in residential homes and special schools administered by my Department, who have been sent there by the courts under the provisions of the School Attendance Act.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary satisfied with the present system? Has he any proposals to change it?

This is a very big question. The Government are taking steps to have all legislation relating to children reviewed in depth and, as a result of an initiative I have taken in conjunction with the Minister, an inter-departmental committee has been set up to clear the ground for such a review and I take it that one of the matters to be considered will be the School Attendance Act. In relation to institutional care, we are initiating considerable improvements; and I am sure the Deputy will be pleased to know that one of the areas in which innovation is contemplated is the city of Cork.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary envisage any amendment of the School Attendance Act? There is an anomalous situation in the Dublin area as a result of growing urbanisation. The School Attendance Act is not applicable in the county and there it is left to the Garda, I believe, to enforce attendance. Are there any proposals to extend the School Attendance Act?

I am not sure if this arises on this question. I have already indicated to Deputy Wyse that I have in hand steps to have the legal position examined.