Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 17 May 1989

Vol. 390 No. 2

Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. - Union of Students in Ireland Report.


asked the Minister for Education if her attention has been drawn to a report prepared by the Union of Students in Ireland which showed that a wide range of important facilities, including medical, safety and disabled services were inadequate or nonexistent in large vocational education committee colleges; if she intends to allocate finances for the provision of such services; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

As the Deputy is aware, statutory responsibility for the running of the VEC colleges rests with the VECs in whose areas the colleges are located. To date the Union of Students in Ireland has not formally submitted any report.

I am aware that at the January meeting of the CDVEC the students' representative presented a document dealing with the need for a crêche and other medical facilities in Dublin colleges, and I understand this document has not yet been dealt with by the committee. The student representative was invited to discuss the matter with the principal officer in the CDVEC but has not yet done so. In the meantime in February last there were some protests at the CDVEC in general with regard to medical services for students. It is now understood that the Union of Students in Ireland propose to prepare a more comprehensive report on the matter concerned with the facts they found in their survey. They will be presenting that to the CDVEC and I in turn will ask them for a copy of it.

Could the Minister outline her Department's role in seeing that the deficiencies found by the survey carried out by the Union of Students in Ireland are made good, her responsibility in ensuring that these deficiencies are made up? I am referring to the question of medical facilities and facilities for disabled students not just those confined to wheelchairs but deaf students, blind students and students who may have other difficulties.

Deputy Higgins had a question down some time ago on this matter. The students carried out a survey on foot of which they propose to prepare a detailed submission to the CDVEC. I am going to request the CDVEC to give it to me and I will consider what they put forward in that.

I appreciate that and I accept what the Minister said in her first reply, but what does she see as her responsibility in the area? If she has not direct power in the matter, in what way can she influence the various bodies who run the colleges, not just in the Dublin area because this applies to Waterford, Cork and elsewhere? In what way can she ensure that these facilities are provided?

On a practical level step by step the VECs would get the submission and in turn make recommendations to me based on that, but I cannot tell them to do that. It is entirely up to themselves to make recommendations to me based on what they see as necessary in their colleges, and if they so do we shall consider them. I take the Deputy's point. That is the mechanical level, so to speak, of the submission. I will request from the Union of Students in Ireland the detailed submission they will be making to the various VECs and I will study it myself, then I hope to be able to raise the matter with the parent body of the VECs, who are the IVEA.