Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle gets commitment for meeting between Education Department, Donegal ETB on mica issues

Pringle gets commitment for meeting between Education Department, Donegal ETB on mica issues

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has pressed the Minister for Education to respond to a Donegal ETB submission seeking supports to assist children affected by the mica issue.

In response, Minister Norma Foley said she would have officials from her department meet with Donegal ETB to discuss the points the ETB want to raise.

Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday evening during oral parliamentary questions to the Minister for Education, Deputy Pringle said: “There’s no doubt that children are living under very severe pressure.” He said the schools need to be able to respond to their needs.

In her response, the minister had given a comprehensive outline of mental health supports that exist in schools across the country.

Deputy Pringle said: “We’re talking about a very serious crisis that is happening in Donegal, and only a part of the county as well, and the ETB’s submission to your department recognises that.”

He said: “You say your department has a comprehensive range of supports in place to support the well-being and mental health of all students – that’s the existing programme. This is over and above that, minister, and you have to recognise that. And the department should recognise that.”

In a further response, the minister said she would be happy to have department officials meet with Donegal ETB.

Deputy Pringle said the programmes the minister detailed were very welcome, but they were part of a national roll-out of supports.

The deputy said: “That’s dealing with issues that are already there. These are issues that are over and above that, where schools and parents are extremely worried about the impact this is having on young people and children right across the board.”

The deputy said it was vitally important for department officials to meet with Donegal ETB.

Deputy Pringle said: “I would urge you to ensure that meeting would take place very quickly.” He also asked the minister to keep the Dáil informed about what is happening in relation to that meeting.