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 Header Item Topical Issue Debate
 Header Item School Staffing

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 845 No. 3

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Topical Issue Debate

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Before we begin, I wish to let it be known how disappointing it is that, week in, week out for the past number of weeks, there have been requests for the deferral of Topical Issue debates because Ministers are unavailable. Today alone, I received 19 requests for debates, but I could only select four matters. If someone does not take up that slot because a Minister is not present, it means that only three issues are taken. It is wrong that people are being disappointed and that, because the issue is being deferred to a day next week, I can only select three other issues at that point. This is a double loss.

If we are to take these matters seriously, I ask that arrangements be made so that Ministers can be available for Topical Issue debates on a daily basis. If the main Minister is not available, Ministers of State should be. We cannot continue with deferrals being sought, particularly on a Thursday. For practically the past three Thursdays, deferrals have been requested. It is just not good enough, as it will diminish the importance of Topical Issues.

Having said that, and before I call Deputy Feighan, I understand that Deputy Naughten wishes to seek a deferral.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten Sadly, I wish to seek a deferral, with the agreement of the House. The Minister is not available to discuss this complex issue. He is aware of much of what is involved. In fairness to the Minister of State, Deputy Costello, there is not much point in his trying to respond to the concerns that have been raised by patients.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Okay.

School Staffing

Deputy Frank Feighan: Information on Frank Feighan Zoom on Frank Feighan There is a fear that the two-teacher Drumboylan national school in the parish of Ardcarne in north County Roscommon will lose a teacher. Eighteen or 19 pupils will attend it in September 2014. Under the September 2013 review, the requirement is for 20 pupils on the roll. Drumboylan had 17 at the time. In March, the school appealed its staffing schedule in the hope that it would have 20 pupils this September. Currently, there have been 18 enrolments, with strong interest from another family and even further afield, meaning that the school should have 20 enrolments by the end of September. The school has been notified that its appeal was successful, but it needs 20 pupils. It has done a great deal of work in this regard and while it will definitely have 18 or 19 pupils in September, there is considerable anxiety and fear among the teachers, the board of management, parents and the local community that a threat is hanging over it. The parents are finding it very difficult to remain positive as they face into a new school year.

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