Wednesday, January 25, 2012

€9M school Chaplaincy expenditure must be re-examined

Statement from Aodhán Ó Riordáin
Labour Party, Dublin North Central
Wednesday, 25th January 2012

Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has called on the Minister for Education to re-examine the payment of €9million for a Chaplaincy Service in Community and Comprehensive Schools, after receiving confirmation today that such funding is to be made available again this year.*

"Considering the difficult decisions which were taken in the education budget this year, and in the context of possibly more difficult decisions to be made next year, the allocation of €9million per annum for the provision of a chaplaincy service must surely be re-examined.

"It is impossible to make cuts in the education service without directly impacting on schools and the day-to-day running of educational institutions. Therefore such decisions will always come down to a painful value judgement by the Minister and his departmental officials.

"In that context, and in the context of guidance counsellors across the country re-iterating their valuable contribution to school life in parliamentary meetings last week, it is now arguably justifiable to discontinue this payment in order to protect other services.

"I understand that such a discontinuation may result in the deeds of trust of all community and Comprehensive Schools being re-visited, however this work is worthwhile if a large portion of the €9million can be recovered.

"I hope to work with the Minister and his officials with a view to examining this matter in the coming months to ascertain if my proposal is a viable one", Deputy Ó Ríordáin concluded.

*Further Information:

Parliamentary Question

Uimhir: 186

To the Minister for Education and Science

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the financing of chaplaincy services in secondary schools and the cost of this service to the Exchequer per year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th January, 2012.
Reference Number: 3376/12
Minister Ruairí Quinn

Chaplain posts are allocated in respect of Community and Comprehensive Schools

There are currently 152 whole time equivalent posts allocated in respect of
chaplaincy services at a cost of approximately €9m for the 2011/2012 school