Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne has said the Government’s continued inaction on rising insurance costs could lead to closures of special schools in the coming years.

Deputy Byrne was commenting as some special schools have seen their insurance costs increase from €3,000 to €26,300 in just two years, a 766% increase.

He explained, “I first raised this issue in the Dáil over a year ago and it’s clear that when it comes to special education, this Government has walked off the pitch. An increase in insurance of over €23,000 over two years is unsustainable, especially given the slow rate of increase to the capitation grant.

“Schools cannot hope to keep up with these cost increases within the funds which the Department of Education has made available to them. The Minister himself acknowledges that these increasing insurance costs are not sustainable, but there appears to be little if any real movement to address insurance costs for these schools in the last 12 months.

“Without a serious, concerted effort on the part of the Department of Education to tackle this problem, we are facing into a situation where special schools will be forced to consider closing their doors.

“If it takes a cross departmental approach so be it. We cannot see another year go past without a long-term solution to these issues, and serious action to tackle the rising costs of insurance”, he concluded.