I am not aware of the case referred to by the Deputy. However, I understand that the person in question is seeking financial assistance towards the cost of education at a fee-paying second level school recognised by my Department.
All fee charging schools receive teacher allocations from my Department in accordance with the normal criteria governing such allocations. As teacher salaries represent the single most significant item of expenditure by a school, I would hope that the Department's salary grant would be seen as a significant contribution towards the education of pupils attending these schools.
The overall rationale governing spending in the education area is to make reasonable education provision for all eligible pupils including pupils with special needs. Generally, where it is considered that adequate provision exists within the free education scheme, my Department does not grant aid attendance at schools outside of the scheme.
It is open to the parents to have the child concerned enrolled in a school in the free education scheme. My Department can provide assistance in securing a suitable placement if desired. In addition, arrangements can be made to have the nature of any special needs assessed by my Department's psychological service with a view to making appropriate educational provision in the case.