Wednesday, 24 April 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): The planning group that prepared proposals for the national educational psychological service agency, NEPS, recommended an overall target number of 200 psychologists. It also recommended that this target should be achieved by the end of 2004.
When I opened the new NEPS headquarters in May 2000, there were 43 psychologists employed in the agency. The recruitment of additional psychologists involved the organisation of competitions through the Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission. Notwithstanding the time consuming nature of such competitions, there are now almost 100 psychologists deployed in the education sector.
The Civil Service Commission has recently concluded the selection of additional psychologists for NEPS. It is envisaged that many of them will be in post by the end of this school year. The notice for candidates in this competition has specified the regions where there are substantial numbers of vacancies. NEPS psychologists who are already in post have also been invited to apply for transfer to the  north west. By the beginning of the next school year, a number of appointments will have been made to the north west region.
I also announced recently that the Government  has decided to enable the full complement of 200 NEPS psychologists to be appointed by the end of this year, two years ahead of schedule. Once this has been achieved, NEPS will be able to offer its service to all schools in all regions.
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