Thursday, 29 June 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
293. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Science if he is now in a position to sanction the appointment of psychologists to cover the remainder of the primary schools in north County Kildare; if not, when the announcements will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19054/00]
The Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission has now completed the process of selecting additional suitably qualified psychologists for appointment to NEPS as part of the planned expansion of the service. Approximately 50 additional psychologists have been selected in this current phase and I have already approved the appointment of 25 of these psychologists.
When the current selection and appointment process has been completed, nearly 100 psychologists will be in post, doubling the present number of psychologists in NEPS. As this is half the eventual target of 200 psychologists, by the end of this year there will be a marked improvement in the level of service being offered by NEPS.
The overall allocation of psychologists to regions will be largely based on the projected  student numbers in each. Priorities for expansion will be informed by the results of a survey of each county that has recently been undertaken by the NEPS psychologists. Among other things, they have investigated the level of access to psychological services apart from NEPS and this will be taken into account in the planning for expansion at local level. During the development phase of NEPS, the needs of all schools, including those in north County Kildare, will be considered when assigning new psychologists to schools.
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