Dáil Éireann - Volume 463 - 28 March, 1996

Written Answers. - High Court Decision.

21. Mr. M. Kitt asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue [1397] case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6711/96]

23. Mr. T. Kitt asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6709/96]

24. Mr. Power asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6708/96]

25. Mr. O'Leary asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6712/96]

36. Mr. Martin asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6704/96]

44. Mr. Nolan asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6706/96]

51. Mr. Moynihan asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6705/96]

[1398] 56. Mr. Foley asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6714/96]

59. Mr. Andrews asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6720/96]

63. Mr. M. Brennan asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6719/96]

66. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6717/96]

78. Mr. Doherty asked the Minister for Education the reason the Government is continuing to appeal the High Court decision regarding the O'Donoghue case concerning the rights of people with disabilities to an education in this country to the Supreme Court. [6715/96]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): I propose to take Questions Nos. 21, 23, 24, 25, 36, 44, 51, 56, 59, 63, 66 and 78 together.

In appealing the decision of the High Court in the case of Paul O'Donoghue the State is not appealing the central element in the High Court judgment — that a profoundly handicapped child is [1399] educable. Neither will the appeal, however it is resolved, in any way diminish the services made available, after this judgement, to the child involved or to children with similar disabilities. The appeal is being pursued entirely without prejudice to the present or future level of education services to such children.

The judgment, however, raises issues of more general concern, primarily to do with the separation of the powers and duties of the Executive and judicial arms of Government and the appropriate relationship between the two. These are constitutional matters of the utmost importance, having a relevance across the entire spectrum of State activities. The Government has been advised by counsel and the Attorney General that the Supreme Court, which has a special role in interpreting the Constitution, should, in the public interest, be asked to consider these aspects of the judgement. It is on this basis that an appeal has been lodged.