Wednesday, 7 June 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
129. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the State is not providing the necessary facilities for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 who was diagnosed as being high functioning autistic, having attention deficit disorder and being hyperactive; the action this person's parents should take to obtain the proper educational facilities; if legal action by them is necessary; the reason his Department cannot provide or fund additional spaces to Beechpark Northside for their pre-school group in Donnycarney at Scoil Ciarain; the reason his Department does not fund the "I Can Do" research project organised by a person (details supplied) in Clontarf; the number of children on similar waiting lists; the action being taken in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16036/00]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): The provision of educational services for children with special needs, including those with autism, is the responsibility of the Department of Education and Science. In recent years there has been a significant expansion of these services and my Department, in conjunction with the health boards and the Eastern Regional Health Authority, has worked closely with the Department of Education and Science to provide health related support services to school going children with autism. Both Departments will continue to work together to address the needs of these children.
In relation to the provision of health support services for the individual in question I have requested that the Eastern Regional Health Authority investigate the matter and reply directly to the Deputy. The provision of pre school services in Scoil Ciarain, Donnycarney, is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Education and Science.
While officials in my Department are aware of the “I Can Do” project, the question of financial assistance for this project is primarily a matter for the Department of Education and Science and I understand that this matter is being followed up by that Department. My Department will con tinue to liaise with the Department of Education and Science in relation to the provision of the necessary health related support services for these children.
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