Thursday, 11 July 2019
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Service Provision
317. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the fact children diagnosed with autism must travel to Kinnegad, County Westmeath twice daily to attend school due to the delay in the completion of a school (details supplied). [31453/19]
The project to which the Deputy refers has been devolved for delivery to Westmeath County Council (WCC).
The Deputy will be aware that my Department has met and worked closely with the patron and school authorities of both schools to which he refers. Together, they have put in place contingency arrangements to ensure that the needs of the school that has had a project delayed for the coming academic year are being met.
In that context, the Deputy is also aware that the school authorities and patron for the school in Kinnegad to which he refers have kindly agreed to temporarily provide accommodation for a number of special needs pupils as an alternative to home tuition for those children. The Department will be providing the funding needed to facilitate this arrangement. I would like to express my thanks to the patron and school management of that school who have gone out of their way to provide a temporary home for these pupils.
I can assure the Deputy that I am extremely disappointed that the delays that have arisen in relation to this project in recent months have made it necessary to put these contingency arrangements in place. I would also assure the Deputy that Westmeath County Council, to whom responsibility for delivery the project in question has been devolved, is continuing to pursue the contractor for as speedy a delivery of the project as possible. It is fully supported by my Department in that respect.