Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD has called on Minister Richard Bruton to make a statement to clarify concerns that have been raised regarding the selection process for DEIS schools.

Deputy Byrne previously raised the issue with the Minister in the Dáil on March 1st. The Department of Education and Skills has today confirmed that there are significant errors with its DEIS selection process.

Deputy Byrne said, “Last week I raised serious concerns in the Dáil regarding the DEIS selection process. I asked the Minister to explain the methodology in detail but he was unable to do so. I pointed out that numerous schools have raised serious concerns about the selection process but the Minister seemed unfazed. Now officials in his Department have admitted that serious errors were made.

“It’s astonishing that no details have been released regarding the criteria used for the new DEIS selection process. This is completely at odds with past precedent considering the selection process for the initial DEIS scheme was detailed in full. It suggests that the Minister rushed to announce the scheme without actually completing the groundwork first.

“This is a serious situation as schools simply cannot understand the logic being used for the selection process. The Minister needs to make a detailed statement to explain why these errors arose and what action is being taken to address them. He also needs to set out in detail the methodology being used for the selection process.

“What other schools should be getting disadvantaged support and aren’t because of a flawed and unexplained process which was rushed out for political advantage?

“I’ve already highlighted the need for an independent review mechanism for DEIS appeals as many schools simply do not have confidence in the current system. The confirmation that serious errors were made in determining whether schools were entitled to access the DEIS scheme shows us that an appeals mechanism is urgently needed. Minister Bruton needs to make this happen,” concluded Deputy Byrne.