Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Regional Education Boards.

Thursday, 28 March 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 463 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 110 Next Page Last Page

 3. Ms Keogh Information on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh Zoom on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh  asked the Minister for Education Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  if she intends to proceed with the plans to establish regional education boards; the effect, if any, these will have on vocational education committees; the plans, if any, she has to rationalise vocational education committees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6844/96]

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach The White Paper on Education, Charting Our Education Future, published in April, 1995, sets out the Government decision to establish education boards and the geographical remit of each education board region.

The draft heads of the legislation to establish the education boards were [1364] recently approved by the Government and are currently with the parliamentary draftsman for preparation of the legal text.

The White Paper also states that vocational education committees will be retained and will function as providers of education within the framework established nationally by the Minister for Education and elaborated regionally by each education board. Exchequer funding and support for vocational education committees will be channelled through the education boards.

The Commission on School Accommodation Needs will, as a first task, examine the existing vocational education committee structure and report and make recommendations on the rationalisation of vocational education committees. The Commission commenced its work on 1 March 1996 and its report on the rationalisation of vocational education committees is to be submitted to me by 31 May 1996.

Ms Keogh: Information on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh Zoom on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh What are the cost implications of the regional education boards? There was nothing about costing in the White Paper. If the heads of the Bill have been approved by Government, the Minister should be able to give us such information.

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach The Deputy tabled a question which in no way indicated that she would further develop it to include the issue of costing. The White Paper spelt out the Government's decision that there would be education boards and we are proceeding along those lines.

Ms Keogh: Information on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh Zoom on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh I accept that there is nothing specific on costings in the question I tabled. However, it is intrinsic that when the heads of a Bill have been approved by Government the Minister would have some idea of how much it will cost. Does the Minister know what the implications are? If she cannot give us exact figures today, is the information available in her Department?

[1365]Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach The legislation in preparation will include the gradual establishment of the boards. I refer the Deputy to the preface to the White Paper which states that the budget for education is one that is subject to yearly consultation between the Minister for Education and the Minister for Finance within the Maastricht Treaty guidelines. The budget of the Department of Education has increased substantially each year I have been in Marlborough Street. The Government has given a commitment to the establishment of the regional education boards. That in itself says more about the willingness of the Government to secure this legislation which will have widespread implications for the whole structure of education and how it is delivered. The Vote was for more than £2 billion, and I have agreement with Government colleagues in relation to delivering that centrally in Marlborough Street so the boards will make a great contribution to necessary changes in structures in the education system.

Ms Keogh: Information on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh Zoom on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh What the Minister said in a rather convoluted way is that she does not have any idea of how much the regional educational boards will cost. She said already that there will be a gradual establishment of such boards and that this will have widespread implications. Has the Minister any idea of the cost implications? I think that is a reasonable question considering the huge resources that have to be allocated to education.

Ms Bhreathnach: Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach I know this has been the subject of earlier questions. I refer the Deputy to the commitment in the foreword of the White Paper as it has implications for many sectors where we are bringing about change. The Government is committed to bringing about change within the constraints of the Maastricht guidelines. The Department is focused on preparing the legislation. The heads of the Bill have been approved by the Cabinet. When the [1366] legislation comes to the House I am sure it will be debated line by line.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy I want very much to facilitate other Members who have offered. I observe that Deputy Deasy is very anxious to contribute but the time for dealing with priority questions is well nigh exhausted. Under the new procedures of the House I can take Questions Nos. 4 and 5.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy Zoom on Austin Deasy Question No. 3 is the meat of the agenda.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy Will Deputy Deasy please give way for a moment?


Last Updated: 12/05/2015 08:40:35 First Page Previous Page Page of 110 Next Page Last Page