Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 14 February, 2006

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

[1401]   576. Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Education and Science when an assessment will be arranged for a person (details supplied) in County Limerick to assess their special needs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5420/06]

  Ms Hanafin: All primary and post-primary schools in County Limerick have access to psychological assessments either directly through the National Educational Psychological Service or through the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments, full details of which are available on my Department’s website. Under the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments, schools may commission educational psychological assessments from private practitioners. This is an interim measure, designed to ensure that urgent assessment needs are met. According to my Department’s records, the school in question has not used its entitlement of assessments under the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments in the current school year. The prioritisation of urgent cases for assessment is a matter for the school principal in the first instance.

Unfortunately, owing to constraints on staffing, the National Educational Psychological Service is not yet in a position to provide a dedicated service for all schools in County Limerick. There are five national educational psychological service psychologists working in the mid-western region serving counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. The Public Appointments Service recently concluded a new recruitment competition for the appointment of educational psychologists to the National Educational Psychological Service and my Department is in the process of appointing ten psychologists from the panels. Four appointments are scheduled to be made to the mid-western region from this process.