Dáil Éireann - Volume 535 - 02 May, 2001

Written Answers - Psychological Service.

256. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science if he proposes to further augment the child psychological services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12565/01]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): The planning group, established to prepare proposals for a national educational psychological service, recommended in its September 1998 report that the Minister for Education and Science should establish a National Educational Psychological Service Agency, NEPS, as an executive agency of his Department. The report also recommended that the agency would have an overall target number of 200 psychologists.

The new NEPS agency as proposed came into existence on 1 September 1999 with the 42 psychologists already employed in the service. The [868] recruitment of additional psychologists involved the organisation of a competition through the Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission. There are now 82 psychologists in NEPS and by the end of this school year there will be some 100 psychologists in the service. It is also intended to proceed with the recruitment of a further 28 psychologists before the end of this calendar year and to continue recruiting until the target of 200 psychologists is reached.