My Department provided a copy of the review referred to by the Deputy to all of the interested parental groups in late October 2003. Each organisation was invited to consider the report and to forward written observations or alternatively to meet with officials of my Department to discuss their response to the report.
My Department has received written submissions from the National Congress of Catholic Secondary School Parent Associations, CPS, the Parents' Associations of Community and Comprehensive Schools, PACCS, and the Federation of Christian Brothers Schools Parents Council, FCBSPC.
In addition, meetings have taken place between officials of my Department and representatives of the National Parents' Council, post-primary, CPSA, PACCS and FCBSPC. The most recent of these, with the federation, was held on 28 January 2004. To date, none of the other parental organisations have chosen to take up my Department's invitation to forward a submission or meet officials.
In deciding on the issues addressed in the review, such as recognition and grant aiding, I must take account of the matter of value for money and the need to avoid unnecessary duplication. The review in question emphasised the fact that many of the issues of concern to parents with children at second level are common across the different sectors. It is important, therefore, that any State funding should promote cohesion to the greatest degree possible as this will best serve to increase the voice of parents in education.
In considering what action to take on foot of the review, my officials and I will take stock of the submissions received and views expressed at the meetings referred to.