Thirty Drogheda schools don't have access to psychologists
Thirty schools in the Drogheda area don't have access to educational psychologists.
The list includes almost all of the secondary schools in the town such as St Joseph's CBS, St Mary's Diocesan School, the Sacred Heart, Greenhills and St Oliver's Community school as well as many primary schools in the town and from areas such as Walshestown, Dunleer and Collon.
The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) office in Drogheda currently employs a staff of seven psychologists, four of whom are on extended leave with three of these are not due back until the end of the current academic year. In reply to Sinn Fein parliamentary questions on the issue, the Department of Education and Skills advised that they are in the process of recruiting additional psychologists but Deputy Imelda Munster is angry that it was allowed to reach this state of chronic shortage.
"The Department should have been more proactive in ensuring that they had the full staff complement to cover all schools, instead of which they have spent more than €140,000 on private assessment over the last 5 years. It should never have been allowed to get to this point, "she says. "Because of this shortage of psychologists, children have had to endure long waiting lists sometimes for as long as eighteen months, for assessment and this is simply not good enough!"
"In this day and age when young children and teenagers are under so much pressure you would have hoped that the government would have made it a priority focus that schools right across this Country had the psychological resources required to support them."
"School-going children should not have to endure the additional pressure of sitting on a long waiting list for assessment before they can avail of the assistance they need."