Thursday, 23 September 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I know the Minister is passionate about this issue and that there is a cross-party desire to resolve these matters. The criteria are dated. I can think of numerous examples of schools affected. Two that occur to me immediately are Togher boys and girls schools. They are in a RAPID area. Around 200 additional units of additional social housing have been built there in the last three years. There is a significant number of children with additional language needs and with English spoken as a second language in the home. I invite the Minister to examine that issue because I was surprised these schools were not included in the previous DEIS cohort.
I will make two points. The first is an ask and the second is something for the Minister to bear in mind. The Minister has spoken about engaging with stakeholders. I am not sure who those stakeholders are. I believe that Deputies, and communities as a whole, have something to offer here. There should be an open opportunity for submissions. I would certainly participate in that and many community organisations in my constituency would do likewise. I ask the Minister to let us feed in what we think would be useful criteria around the housing assistance payment, HAP, and other elements. It was a huge missed opportunity that no new DEIS band 2 schools were added when a new cohort of additional DEIS schools was last announced. That was a big mistake because it is much less expensive and such schools get access to home school liaison and school completion. Many schools would have benefited from that. It needs to happen this time.