Thursday, 26 September 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
Autism Support Services
I thank the Minister of State for his response. He referred to what has happened since the passing of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018. Interestingly, the Government opposed the part of the Bill that gave the Minister those powers, and it was a combination of Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party and others that had it included in the legislation. I understand the Minister of State may not be able to answer my question and I want to be fair. I am puzzled as to why the powers in the Act have been used so little to date. We know there is a dearth of classes, with a particular problem at secondary level, as the Minister of State acknowledged, in fairness. Nevertheless, the Minister has chosen not to use the legislation that may force schools to provide classes where they are needed. I mentioned counties like Cavan, Laois, Dublin, Clare, Kildare, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Waterford and Wicklow, which have a drastic shortage of these classes. I am puzzled as to why the Minister has not used that power.