Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne TD says his party is looking to secure additional educational psychologists for primary and secondary schools in Wexford.

Deputy Browne last week revealed that 29 schools in Wexford have been left without a psychologist service. The National Educational Psychological Service works with both primary and post-primary schools and is concerned with learning, behaviour, social and emotional development.

“Minister for Education Richard Bruton recently confirmed to Fianna Fáil that NEPS is drastically understaffed. This is leading to a situation where many schools, including 29 in Wexford, have been left without an educational psychologist. This in turn is having a detrimental impact on students as delays in accessing assessments for special education needs is resulting in them missing out on vital learning supports,” explained Deputy Browne.

“Fianna Fáil has been raising concerns about the under-staffing of NEPS for some time now. The Confidence and Supply Arrangement we entered into with Fine Gael contains a specific commitment by the Government to recruit an additional 100 new educational psychologists. We gave a firm commitment that we would deliver on this commitment and we have now tabled a special Dáil debate to do just this.

“Wexford has been disproportionately affected by cutbacks to NEPS. There are currently 29 schools in the county without any sort of a psychologist service, which is one of the highest figures in the entire country. The motion we have tabled will help kick-start the recruitment of additional educational psychologists. I will be pushing for Wexford to receive its fair share of this additional allocation.

“Ultimately we need to see an increase in learning supports for students who have special educational needs. This can only be achieved if there are educational psychologists in place to identify students who need additional support. This is the only way we can ensure that all children are given the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Government has stalled long-enough on this issue, we now need to see decisive action.”