Declan Breathnach says he is 'alarmed'
Fianna Fáil TD for Louth Declan Breathnach says he is deeply alarmed by new figures which reveal that 13 schools across Louth do not have a National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) psychologist assigned to them.
The figures were contained in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Fianna Fáil. The National Educational Psychological Service works with both primary and post-primary schools and is concerned with learning, behaviour, social and emotional development.
Deputy Breathnach said, “The new figures we have obtained are deeply worrying and clearly demonstrate the crisis that the school psychologist service is currently going through. It’s extraordinary that 13 schools in Louth do not have access to a professional psychologist when you consider the extreme stresses that many children undergo as they grow older.
“We have known for some time that the school psychologist service is drastically understaffed. For example, in most instances it takes over a year for students to be assessed for special education needs. This is having a detrimental impact on these children’s development as it affects their access to Resource Teaching Hours and Learning Supports. Overall children in these schools have limited access to psychological supports and counselling services when a crisis presents.
“Fianna Fáil has been raising concerns about the understaffing of the NEPS for some time now. This is why we made the recruitment of 100 new psychologists a condition of our Confidence and Supply Arrangement to facilitate a minority Government. I will be working with my party colleagues to ensure that this commitment is adhered to so that Louth schools can get the resources they need to help support the development of their pupils.”