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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 7 Oct 1998

Vol. 494 No. 5

Written Answers. - Psychological Service.

Charles Flanagan


151 Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Science when he expects to establish a psychological service for primary schools in County Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18928/98]

One of my key priorities as Minister is the establishment of a national educational psychological service. Earlier this year, my Department recruited 15 educational psychologists for the purpose of expanding the psychological service to primary schools. One of these psychologists has been assigned to certain primary schools in County Offaly.

On 15 September last, I launched and endorsed the report of the planning group which has prepared recommendations for me on how a national educational psychological service may best be established. I intend bringing proposals for the establishment of such a service to Government shortly. While it is not possible to meet all needs in all areas at the same time, it is my intention that there will be an education psychological service available to all schools by the end of the five year implementation phase proposed in the report of the planning group.

I have also announced the recruitment of ten additional psychologists this year as an interim measure in order to achieve an immediate improvement in the number of psychologists employed by my Department. I am aware that there are many schools in County Offaly which do not yet have access to my Department's psychological service, including some with considerable numbers of disadvantaged pupils. Such priority areas will be considered for inclusion as the psychological service is expanded.