Dáil Éireann - Volume 497 - 02 December, 1998
Written Answers - Special Educational Needs.
Mrs. Barnes Mrs. Barnes
76. Mrs. Barnes asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the fact that St. Francis Clinic, Temple St., Dublin 1, had to turn away 90 per cent of the children referred to its diagnostic facility and that parents with children with special needs have no special pre-schools on Dublin's north side. [25888/98]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin) Micheál Martin
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The situation to which the Deputy refers has been brought to my attention.
In an earlier response to a similar question on 22 October 1998 from Deputy Richard Bruton, it was incorrectly indicated to the Deputy that the matter in question had not previously been brought to my attention. I regret that incorrect information was given to the House on that occasion. This arose from a misunderstanding on the part of my Department regarding the particular diagnostic facility being referred to by the Deputy on that occasion.
I understand the facility to which both Deputy Barnes and Deputy Bruton refer is the specialised school unit at Temple Street, which caters for up to eight children who require ongoing assessment, rather than the general diagnostic service available to children at the Temple Street Clinic.
The issues raised by the Deputies in relation to admission to the specialised school unit are being investigated by my Department with a view to determining what action can be taken to address present difficulties.
With regard to the question of preschool services for special needs children, I recently held a National Forum for Early Childhood Education. My objective in holding this forum was to facilitate a debate on the future development of early childhood education services, including services for children with special needs.
The report on the outcome of the forum has now been received in my Department and is being considered in the context of the preparation of a White Paper on early childhood education which I will publish next year.
Dáil Éireann 497 Written Answers Special Educational Needs.