Tuesday, 14 May 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I join with Senator Ruane in offering our sympathies to Ms Fidelma Doonan on the very sad death of her brother.
I welcome Ms Rose Barford from County Wicklow who is a transition year student on work experience in the Seanad Office. I wish her well and hope she has a pleasant experience. She will learn a lot in the course of her week working here.
I thank the ten Members of the House for their contributions on the Order of Business. In response to Senator Ardagh, and linked to Senator Gallagher's contribution, the Government is committed to ensuring that every child with special educational needs receives a thorough and proper education. That is why the budget for meeting special educational needs has increased to €1.75 billion, a 43% increase since 2011 and 18.79% of the overall education budget.Since 2011, the number of special needs schools has increased in Dublin and throughout the country. There are 37 special schools and 235 special classes. There has been an increase in ASD special classes in County Dublin from 66 to 195. There are issues that Senators Ardagh and Gallagher raised that need to be tackled, particularly CAMHS. It is a source of worry that there is a waiting lists and that there are issues around CAMHS. Perhaps some of it relates to the way we categorise and diagnose people now. There is a need for more resourcing, but it is not as simple an issue as resources. It is not just that one-dimensional point about which the Senator spoke.
Regarding the early childcare matter raised by Senator Ardagh, I would be happy to have information on that given to the Senator. Through the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, the Government is very much targeting the early childcare sector because, as we all know, early intervention-----