Written Answers. - Psychological Service.

Enda Kenny

Question:

87 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Science the level of funding allocated to the national educational psychological service for 2003; the level of funding allocated to the NEPS for each year since 1997; the current numbers employed with the NEPS service; the numbers employed within the service for each year since 1997; the projected change in numbers employed within the service to year end 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17283/03]

The financial provision for 2003 for the national educational psychological service, NEPS, in my Department's Estimates is €14.43 million. NEPS was established as a dedicated executive agency of my Department with effect from 1 September 1999. The financial outturn for NEPS for each year since its establishment was €1.111 million in 1999, €3.586 million in 2000, €6.261 million in 2001 and 11.097 million – provisional – in 2002.

Since the establishment of NEPS in September 1999, the number of staff assigned to the agency has almost tripled, rising from 47 in 1999, to 139 at present. The number of staff working with the agency since its establishment in 1999 is 47 in 1999, 82 in 2000, 96 in 2001, 134 in 2002 and 139 in 2003 to date. It is anticipated that up to an additional 29 staff will be assigned to the agency, by the end of 2003. The further recruitment of staff will be undertaken as resources permit.