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Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 233. Mr. F. McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  if it is fair, correct and sensible to send children with a visual disability to the North for services; and the further number of children with disabilities being sent outside the State for services. [24319/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey I can assure the Deputy that I would be most anxious that all children with disabilities, including children with visual impairment, should have their needs addressed within this jurisdiction.

Decisions to place children in facilities outside the State are only taken in very exceptional circumstances and usually arise because of the very specialised educational or health care/medical needs of the children involved.

At present, seven children with special educational or health care needs are placed in facilities outside the State.

 234. Mr. F. McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  if he will urgently support the National Centre for the Visually Impaired, Grace Park Road, Dublin 9; if he will ensure that all parents are consulted regarding the project; and if he will give an update on the matter particularly in relation to the budgetary position. [24320/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey Arising from the report of a planning group which was established to consider proposals for the development of a national centre for the visually impaired, my Department engaged a project team to consider an overall development strategy for the implementation of the planning group's report at the location mentioned by the Deputy.

The report of the project team has just recently been received in my Department. The report, which is lengthy and complex, is now being examined by my Department. Further decisions on the proposal will be taken in the light of the outcome of this examination.

It would be my intention that all relevant parties be kept informed of developments.


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