Until the end of the year 2000, two of the educational psychologists employed by my Department in the national educational psychological service – NEPS – provided a psychological service to all post-primary schools in the city and county of Waterford. Neither of these psychologists was based in Waterford and both had responsibilities in other counties. Similarly, a Dublin-based psychologist, who had responsibilities in other areas, served post-primary schools in County Kilkenny.
Following the decision of the Government that NEPS should develop a psychological service that would eventually be available to all schools, my Department embarked on a programme of recruitment. Some 30 additional psychologists have been appointed since last September. This has allowed NEPS to enhance considerably the psychological service in the south-eastern region.
Two NEPS psychologists have now been assigned to work exclusively in County Waterford. They have already begun work in the post-primary schools, and are now initiating a service to primary schools. It is envisaged that they will be able to provide a psychological service initially to all post-primary students in the city and county, to all primary school pupils in the city of Waterford and to a number of primary schools in the county. Office accommodation is currently being refurbished and is almost ready, so that there will soon be a NEPS office in the city.