Written Answers. - Speech Therapy Service.

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

650 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide speech therapy for a person (details supplied) in County Galway at Scoil Muire, Doireglinne, An Sraith Salach, Contae na Gaillimhe, under section 7 of the Education Act, 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7940/01]

With regard to the provision of speech therapy services for children in school, my Department works in close co-operation with the health authorities who have responsibility for the delivery of such services.

I am arranging for my officials to bring the particular case to which the Deputy refers to the attention of the relevant health board so that any necessary speech therapy support can be made available to the child in question.

I am aware that there have been ongoing difficulties in relation to the delivery of adequate speech therapy services to children in some schools. I have brought my concerns in this regard to the attention of the Minister for Health and Children.

The Department of Health and Children has commissioned Dr. Peter Bacon to undertake a workforce planning study on therapeutic services, including speech and language therapies. The Higher Education Authority is represented on the steering group for the study and I understand that a report is expected in the near future.

As an interim measure, in response to the shortage of speech and language therapists, the intake into the programme at Trinity College, Dublin has been increased from 26 to 29 for the current academic year.

My Department is continuing to liaise with the Department of Health and Children on this matter and will give positive consideration to any recommendations in relation to the training of additional speech therapists which may arise from the work being conducted by Dr. Bacon.