Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne and Spokesperson on Equality, Immigration and Integration, Fiona O’Loughlin, have responded to the news that up to 30 children living in emergency direct provision accommodation have not been attending school.

The Deputies criticised the complete failure of the Government to ensure that these children are afforded their legal right to education.

Deputy Byrne said, “This is disgraceful. Children in direct provision are entitled to the exact same level of access to education as any other child. Parents, regardless of whether they are in the direct provision system or not, want their children to meet their full potential.

“The scale of this is particularly concerning. With up to 30 children at just one location not receiving an education, it raises concerns that this is not being systematically monitored.

“The Minister for Education must urgently clarify the circumstances by which this came to pass and whether his Department was aware of it. Further he needs to explain why the home tuition system was not used to ensure that these children were provided with an education while a school place is found for them.

Spokesperson on Equality, Immigration and Integration and Chair of the Oireachtas Education Committee, Fiona O’Loughlin added, “There are currently about 1,500 asylum seekers living in emergency accommodation. I understand approximately 300 of these are children.

“EU law requires Ireland to provide these children with access to education, but aside from that, as a caring, generous and hospitable nation we should want any child under our protection to prosper.

“The Department of Justice and Equality need to clarify and confirm that other asylum-seeking children are not being denied their rights in the same manner as those in Carrickmacross. These children should not be failed in this manner,” she concluded.