Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Education Thomas Byrne TD has criticised the Government for failing to advance the School Admissions Bill.

The Bill aims to provide a new framework for school enrollment to ensure every child is treated fairly.

Deputy Byrne said, “The slow pace of reform by the Government when it comes to education is disappointing. We have had announcement after announcement from the Minister, but no action.

“The School Admissions Bill was republished over 18 months ago having failed to be progressed by the last Fine Gael / Labour Government, but little progress has been made since then. It was discussed at Committee Stage prior to the summer recess but it has completely fallen off the Government agenda since then.

“The Minister has only managed to generate media publicity from time to time during the intervening period by claiming to be radical about reform, but patience is wearing thin. A key amendment to deal with access to special classes, which Fianna Fail introduced, has also been left in the lurch by the Government inaction.

“Fianna Fáil indicated that we would facilitate the passage of this Bill in advance of the summer recess after securing the breakthrough in regards the provision of special classes in schools. However the Government failed to progress its passage through the Oireachtas. We are now approaching the Christmas recess and we are still in the dark regarding the status of this Bill. At all times, Fianna Fail has been prepared to be as cooperative as possible to get this bill through.

“Excuses won’t wash and any further announcements will be treated with the skepticism they deserve.

“Minister Bruton needs to provide an update on the status of this Bill and set out a clear timeline for its passage,” concluded Deputy Byrne.