I have raised this issue with the Minister before. There is a crisis for many families. I do not use that word lightly. It is not just an issue in north Dublin. Many of my colleagues across different constituencies in Dublin, Wexford and in Drogheda tell me the same thing. Colleagues of mine, John Nisbet, in Dublin North-West, Senator Marie Sherlock in Dublin North-Central, Deputy Duncan Smith in Dublin Fingal, and people in my constituency, Dublin Bay North, are talking about it. My colleague, Senator Mark Wall, from Kildare, raised it in the Seanad yesterday. There is a crisis with access to second level school places. Primary level is an issue too. We have discussed the provisions in the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 for 25% of places to be kept aside for children or grandchildren of past pupils. That has now gone to Committee Stage in the Oireachtas education committee and we can discuss that.
It has been suggested to me that the level of social mobility around the time of the housing crash 12 or 13 years ago is part of the issue here because many families moved into areas they were not originally from. Their children are now reaching second level school age and so this problem is arising. For whatever reason, my office has never had the level of contact we have had in recent months about issues of accessing second level schools across the northside. These children have to be taught and to go to second level. We are now at a stage where panic is creeping in. The Minister can appreciate that being in primary school for the past years has been difficult with the pandemic. Young people want the security of knowing what secondary schools they will attend. Parents want to know too. It is becoming an acute problem in my constituency. Unfortunately, I do not have answers for these parents who contact my office. I suggest they go through the enrolment policy of the school and try to engage with the school in whatever way they can, but they tell me they are on different waiting lists for different schools.
I am also told there can sometimes be a general data protection regulation, GDPR, issue with sharing data about who is on which list. A number of parents may have their children on a number of different lists. It is not always obvious how many places are necessary for a cohort of young people. There is a parallel issue with the choice of patronage. If people have been educated through Irish until sixth class and would therefore choose an Irish-language medium second level school, that has its own challenges. If people have been taught with the Educate Together ethos until sixth class, they will prefer that type of schooling. Either way, my constituents face the crisis of not having any notion of where their children will go for first year of secondary school next year.
What analysis has the Department done of this issue in north Dublin or farther afield, in areas I have referred to? What measures is it putting in place to address it?