Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 2 December 2021
Select Committee on Education and Skills
Estimates for Public Services 2021
Vote 26 - Education and Skills (Supplementary)
Vote 45 - Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Supplementary)
I thank the Cathaoirleach very much for his question. I express my thanks for the work of the committee and specifically the issue the Chairman has highlighted there. He is completely correct in that we have counsellors in our schools and I am very pleased to say that we have had an increase in the provision of counsellors within schools as a consequence of the budget and a commitment to deliver on that for our schools. Therapeutic counselling, the committee will be aware, falls outside of the Department of Education and is a form of counselling within the the Department of Health. I want to state clearly that I have had extensive and ongoing engagement with the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, and this counselling falls within the remit of her portfolio. I acknowledge the excellent departmental co-operation between Deputy Butler’s Department and area of responsibility and the Department of Education. We are certainly working together to seek the potential and possibility even if this, as referred to by the Chairman, is on a pilot basis towards making an initiative like that available that would be supported cross-departmentally. I acknowledge that this falls within the portfolio of the Minister of State, Deputy Butler but she has an extraordinary willingness to work to see how we can advance that, going forward.