Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD is to seek further clarity from Minister Richard Bruton over the allocation of guidance counselling hours for the coming year.

Deputy Byrne made the comments after a number of school principals approached him to outline their concerns over the lack of transparency with the allocation process for guidance counselling hours.

“Fianna Fáil has been committed to securing ring-fenced guidance counselling hours for schools. One of the key conditions in the confidence and supply arrangement is the re-introduction of ex-quota guidance counselling in every secondary school. We stuck by our commitment and have demanded that the Government deliver on its pledge to re-introduce ex-quota guidance counselling for schools,” said Deputy Byrne.

“There has been significant confusion in recent days amongst school principals who have pointed out serious inconsistencies in the manner in which the Department is seeking to allocate guidance counselling hours. They fear that the Minister is attempting to renege on his commitment to ensure that these hours are ring-fenced as ex-quota hours for guidance counsellors. This confusion is unnecessary and is only serving to delay the roll-out of guidance counselling hours.

“I will be raising this matter in the Dáil later this week with Minister Bruton to get to the bottom of what is going on. I have already written to the Minister asking him to explain the current situation and to state clearly that these hours will be ring-fenced as ex-quota hours for guidance counsellors,” concluded Deputy Byrne.