Thursday, 23 September 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
In the first instance, I acknowledge, as Deputy Ó Laoghaire stated, that there is enormous cross-party support for, and recognition of, this area. I appreciate the points that Deputy Connolly made. I must say that for all the reasons outlined by the Deputy, a new DEIS identification process and mechanism based on statistical information will be found going forward. The important point here is that we get this right. The Deputy has spoken of fairness, access and inclusion. It is for all of those reasons that I am very conscious of our obligation to get this right.
The consultation is with the education partners. I have absolutely no difficulty with anybody bringing forward ideas in relation to it. A very wide consultation, which predates my term in office, was completed. Following the 2017 inclusion of additional DEIS schools, a line was drawn under it so as to allow this process to continue and be completed. I appreciate the urgency around it. It will be expedited as much as possible to ensure that is done. However, the priority is to get it absolutely right - as right as we can, at the very least.