Seanad debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Aisling DolanAisling Dolan (Fine Gael)

I have three points. First, I welcome the announcement yesterday of the Minister, Deputy Foley, and that of today that antigen testing will be extended to schools from Monday, 29 November. It is also very hopeful to see that there will be extra substitute teachers which is a very significant issue on the supply panels. I thank the higher education institutions, HEIs, that are engaging with us in order to release students to be able to support school. The Minister, Deputy Foley, has noted that there will be more than 680 substitute teachers. She has acknowledged an additional 100 have been added. It is thanks to the HEIs that we are able to do that and I thank them for that. I also highlight that retired teachers will also be able to work unrestricted with no impact on their pensions. That is a very important point because those who are retired and would like to participate in supporting their local schools are welcome to do that.

The Minister, Deputy Harris, also noted the new name for our brand-new university, the Atlantic Technological University, Ollscoil Teicneolaíochta an Atlantaigh, which is anticipated to open its doors on 1 April next year. That is very exciting news and brings together Galway, Mayo. Sligo and Letterkenny institutes of technology. We are so looking forward to this as we know what this means for our regional campuses. This will be completely phenomenal and very exciting from Castlebar down to Mountbellew. It is also very good that a survey has shown that all of the institutes have agreed to and are very happy with this brand-new name. This branding is going to be a way to join all of these groups together so that it will be a force to be reckoned with in the west. I look forward to many people talking about the Atlantic Technological University both at a national and international level.

Finally, I wish to mention West Doc. We need HSE funding for nurse triage for West Doc to support GPs in the Ballinasloe area who are really struggling in recruitment and retention. Gabhaim buíochas.

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