Header Item Written Answers Nos. 440-460
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item School Patronage
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Staffing
 Header Item School Enrolments Data
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Residential Institutions Redress Scheme
 Header Item FÁS Training Programmes Provision
 Header Item Institutes of Technology Expenditure
 Header Item Third Level Courses Availability
 Header Item Schools Review
 Header Item Site Acquisitions

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 799 No. 1
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 440-460

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 440. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of autism classes that have been opened in schools here since March 2011; the names of these schools and their location; the total number of such classes now in operation; the funding provided by his Department in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for such classes; his plans for further classes for the next school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16865/13]

 443. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his policy position on the provision of Applied Behaviour Analysis as a method of education for children on the Autistic Spectrum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16870/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 440 and 443 together.

The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local special educational needs organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports, including the establishment of special classes for children with autism in various geographical areas as required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

There are now in excess of 540 classes for autism in schools nationwide and I have requested the NCSE to provide the Deputy with the detailed breakdown he requires. My Department strives to ensure that a continuum of special education provision is available as required for children with special educational needs. In line with this approach the policy is to promote a child-centred approach to education of all children with special educational needs including those with autism. As each child with autism is unique they should have access to a range of different approaches to meet their individual needs.

With regard to Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) the position is that there is no definitive or universally accepted research which supports the use of one intervention exclusively for all children with autism. However, research does support the use of any of a range of autism-specific interventions depending on the individual needs of the child.

My Department's policy is based on the advice of international experts on autism; NEPS; the Inspectorate; an analysis of research, including the study referred to by the Deputy and the report of the Irish Task Force on Autism. The preferred approach ensures that each child can draw from a number of different approaches to ensure the optimum individualised educational programme for him/her.

The use of behavioural interventions, including ABA, is supported by my Department by providing training for teachers in their use. However, it is not accepted that ABA should be the only intervention used.

Schools Building Projects Status

 441. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding a school building project (details supplied) in County Wicklow; when the building will commence; the current stage of the process; the temporary accommodation that is being provided in the interim; the capacity of the school; the capacity of the school after extension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16868/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The project referred to by the Deputy is currently at an early stage of architectural planning. A design team has recently been appointed to commence the architectural planning process. The school currently caters for a Principal plus 16 Mainstream classroom teachers and when complete will accommodate Principal plus 24 Mainstream classrooms. This project was included in the 5 year construction programme announced in March 2012 and is scheduled to commence construction in 2015/2016. My Department is currently processing an application from the school for temporary accommodation and will be in contact with the school authority shortly.

Schools Building Projects Status

 442. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding a school extension (details supplied) in County Wicklow; when the extension is scheduled to be constructed; the stage the process is currently at between the school and his Department; the capacity of the school currently and the capacity of the school after the extension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16869/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn A building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is contained on the 5 Year Construction Plan that I announced in March 2012. The proposed extension project is scheduled to commence construction in 2014/2015. The current position is that the Schedule of Accommodation for the project has been finalised and this was furnished to the school authority on the 12th April last. The next step in the architectural planning process involves the appointment of a Design Team and the Department will be in further contact with the school regarding this element in due course. The school has a current enrolment of 532 students and will have capacity for 750 students when the extension is completed. The current status of all projects on the school construction programme, may be viewed on my Department's website at www.education.ie and this will be updated regularly throughout the year.

  Question No. 443 answered with Question No. 440.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 444. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an update on the current status of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act; the provisions in this Act that have been implemented; the date of their enactment; the provisions in the Act that have yet to be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16871/13]

 467. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will publish, in tabular form, a list of all provisions of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004; the current status of these provisions in terms of whether they have been implemented, part implemented or not implemented; the projected cost of implementing each of the provisions which have not been implemented to date; if he will outline a time frame for the implementation of all sections of this legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17182/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 444 and 467 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that a significant number of sections of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act have been commenced, principally those establishing the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and those promoting an inclusive approach to the education of children with special educational needs. Specifically, the following sections have been commenced - 1, 2, 14(1)(a), 14(1)(c), 14(2) to 14(4), 19 to 37, 40 to 53. The remaining sections of the Act have yet to be commenced.

In light of the very difficult economic situation and the significant costs involved, the previous Government deferred the full implementation of EPSEN. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) had suggested that additional investment over a period of years of up to €235m per annum, across the education and health sectors, would be required to fully implement the EPSEN Act. My Department's view is that the level of investment required would now be greater than that envisaged in the NCSE report.

Given the costs involved and current fiscal constraints, addressing this issue will be very challenging. I will be considering how we can develop a plan to implement the objectives of the EPSEN Act so as to deliver improved educational outcomes for students with special needs.

The NCSE has been asked to provide comprehensive policy advice on how the education system can best support children with special educational needs. This advice will guide the preparation of a plan on how aspects of EPSEN can be implemented, including the prioritising of access to children with special needs to an individual education plan.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 445. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when he expects to receive policy advice from the National Council for Special Education on special education here; the terms of reference or basis on which this review is being carried out; if the review will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16872/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a formal role under the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act, 2004 to advise me as Minister in relation to any matter relating to the education of children and others with disabilities. The NCSE has been asked to provide comprehensive policy advice on how the education system can best support children with special educational needs. I can advise that this advice will consider:

- the identification and assessment of children with special needs

- the nature of supports provided for children

- the way in which supports are allocated to schools and

- how these supports are configured.

  The NCSE has advised my Department that representative groups including parent representatives have been consulted as part of the development of this policy advice. These representative groups also participate on the NCSE Consultative Forum, which meets regularly to consider policy matters relating to the provision of services for children with special educational needs. The advice from the NCSE is expected in the coming weeks. It is my intention that the significant resources to support children with Special Educational Needs are deployed to ensure the best possible outcomes for students. The advice will be a key input into achieving this goal.

School Patronage

 446. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the options available to parents who wish their children to commence Catholic primary school in Ashbourne, County Meath in the years September 2013, 2014 or 2015 in view of the lack of availability of places at this time; the measures he will take to address this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [16882/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Prior to September 2011, there were three primary schools in the Ashbourne area, all of which were under Catholic patronage. During 2010 and 2011, the Department had been examining the question of increasing the number of primary school places in the area to cater for the expected increase in enrolments. The patron indicated that, following local consultation in the area, the consensus was that the parish should not be involved in further primary school provision in the area.

My Department subsequently put in place an application and patron selection process for the establishment of new schools to cater for increasing demographics in Ashbourne. Applications for patronage of proposed new schools were received from An Foras Patrúnachta and from Educate Together, both of whom are well established national patron bodies. Both patron bodies proposed to establish multi-denominational schools. Given that all existing schools in Ashbourne were Catholic in ethos, the provision of multi-denominational schools would increase diversity and parental choice in the area. Following consideration of these applications, approval was given for the commencement of a new Gaelscoil, which opened in September 2011, and a new Educate Together School, which opened in September 2012.

Notwithstanding this and following recent engagement between my Department and the local primary schools, my Department has approved the expansion of St. Declan's National School to a fully vertical 3-stream school from September 2013. In addition, approval has been conveyed to Gaelscoil na Mí and Ashbourne Educate Together National School to accept an intake of two Junior Infant Classes each from September next.

With the commencement of the two new primary schools in the area, together with the proposed school expansions from September 2013, there will be capacity for up to ten junior infant classes across the five schools from September 2013. Six of these junior infant classes will be provided in schools with a Catholic ethos and four will be provided in schools with a multi-denominational ethos. This additional capacity at junior infant level should be more than sufficient to meet the projected demand for school places in the area.

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. This may result, however, in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

 447. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding a school (details supplied) in Dublin 9; if he intends to increase the number of special needs assistants to the school and bring the complement back to that which existed in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16888/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

The NCSE allocates a level of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of all of the qualifying children enrolled in the school. A school's allocation of SNA support may alter from year to year as pupils enrol or leave a school or where a child's care needs have diminished over time. If a school is notified of a change in SNA support this is either because the number of qualifying children has changed or the assessed needs of the qualifying children have changed. The NCSE may only allocate SNAs to schools where valid applications meet the qualifying criteria. All schools have been advised to apply to the NCSE for SNA support for the 2013/14 school year by 15th March 2013 and schools will be notified by SENOs of their SNA allocation in advance of the 2013/14 school year, based on the number of valid applications received.

All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

School Enrolments Data

 448. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will outline on a county basis the number of schools with less than 80 pupils currently in operation. [16908/13]

 449. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will outline on a county basis the number of schools with fewer than three teachers currently in operation. [16909/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 448 and 449 together.

  The information requested by the Deputy is provided in the National School Annual Census return. The census for the current school year (2012/13) is being finalised at present and results will be published on my Department's website later in the year. At that point the definitive answers to the Deputy's questions will be provided as they are dependent on the finalised enrolment data.

  In the meantime, the full list of primary schools in county order with their enrolments for the 2011/12 school year can be found on my Department's website the following link: http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/stats_FULL_SCHOOL_LIST_2011-2012.xls. The number of primary schools with fewer than 3 teachers in 2011/12 classified by county is as follows.

County
Schools
Carlow
5
Cavan
10
Clare
28
Cork City
 
Cork County
34
Donegal
46
Dublin South County
1
Dublin City
3
Dublin Fingal
1
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
 
Galway City
 
Galway County
43
Kerry
29
Kildare
4
Kilkenny
8
Laois
10
Leitrim
13
Limerick City
 
Limerick County
10
Longford
8
Louth
1
Mayo
44
Meath
7
Monaghan
13
Offaly
5
Roscommon
34
Sligo
14
Tipperary
31
Waterford City
8
Waterford County
          
Westmeath
8
Wexford
6
Wicklow
5
TOTAL
429

Departmental Funding

 450. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 92 and 93 of 29 November 2012, if the information sought is now available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16911/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The detailed data sought by the Deputy has taken my officials some time to compile. However, the information is being finalised at present and I can confirm that it will be issued directly to the Deputy within the coming days.

  Question No. 451 answered with Question No. 425.

  Question No. 452 answered with Question No. 431.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

 453. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the steps he has taken to address the specific concerns of the various support groups regarding the residential institutions redress scheme; the funding that is available to such groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16960/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I have recently established the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (RISF) Board pursuant to the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act, 2012. The Board will oversee the use of the cash contributions of up to €110 million pledged by the religious congregations to support the needs of some 15,000 survivors of residential institutional child abuse, who have received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent Court awards. Supports across a range of services, including mental health services, health and personal social services, education services and housing services will be available.

The legislation followed a comprehensive consultation process and I am aware that there are divergent views among survivors of abuse on the Fund, with some advocating a simple distribution of the available money. However the purpose of the Fund is, as advocated in the original motion passed by Dáil Éireann, intended for the support of victims.

The Board held its inaugural meeting on 27th March and has commenced work on the arrangements to be put in place for the operation of the Fund. Further publicity will be undertaken as the work of the Board progresses and a website with detailed information on the Fund's services will be developed. My Department has provided funding to a number of Survivor Groups and to Outreach Services in the UK to provide an information and referral service for survivors in the context of the range of measures introduced in response to residential institutional abuse. As the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund is responsible for advising former residents on its services, my Department's funding for Survivor Groups and the Outreach Services will cease when the RISF becomes operational.

FÁS Training Programmes Provision

 454. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will open up retraining facilities provided by his Department to persons who are unemployed but not eligible for jobseeker's allowance due to their partner or spouse earning a low to middle income salary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16969/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciaran Cannon Zoom on Ciaran Cannon Eligibility to participate on Springboard courses is already open to unemployed people in receipt of certain Social Protection Allowances or if they are signing for social insurance contribution credits or were previously self-employed.

The Department of Social Protection determine an individual's eligibility to participate in other training programmes targeted specifically at the unemployed, such as MOMENTUM and the Skillnets Job Seekers Support Programme (JSSP), both of which are funded by my Department. Similarly, the Department of Social Protection also determine the eligibility of unemployed individuals to participate on FAS training programmes.

Institutes of Technology Expenditure

 455. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the cost to public funds of legal fees and consultancy fees and all other related costs in relation to injunctions, judicial reviews and legal actions involving senior management at the Dublin Institute of Technology in each year since 1 January 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16973/13]

 456. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the cost to public funds of legal fees and other costs relating to inquiries in relation to staff matters, internal and external, initiated, conducted or authorised by the Dublin Institute of Technology senior management and all other related costs arising in such cases in each year since 1 January 2003; if he will detail the individual costs of each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16974/13]

 457. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the total expenditure of the Dublin Institute of Technology on legal costs in each year since 1 January 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16975/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 455 to 457, inclusive, together.

  My Department allocates recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for direct disbursement to the HEA institutions. The HEA allocates this grant to institutions for free fees and core grant funding and other specific earmarked initiatives   As the Deputy will be aware, higher education institutions such as DIT are autonomous institutions and my Department does not have any function in their day to day operational affairs, including issues of a legal nature, for which the Governing Bodies and the management staff of the institutions are responsible.

  The HEA has obtained the attached information from the institution concerned which shows legal expenses from 2003 to 2012.   I should point out that as institutions also generate income from other sources outside of the Exchequer such legal expenses cannot be attributed in whole to the Exchequer.   The split between Exchequer and own income is circa. 80% and 20% respectively.

  In addition to the expenditure reported by DIT my Department incurred costs amounting to €82,710.50 in respect of a statutory enquiry on behalf of the Minister, carried out during 2006 and 2007 into alleged misconduct of a member of staff of DIT. The breakdown of this expenditure by year is €28,876.73 in 2006, €52155.90 in 2007 and €1686.87 in 2008.

Dublin Institute of Technology – legal fee costs 2003 to 2012

External Legal Fees

-
Human Resources
Other Issues
Total
2003
90,113.79
77,184.80
€167,299
2004
112,422.06
250,407.10
€362,829
2005
189,842.11
192,066.33
€381,908
2006
146,072.12
91,532.02
€237,604
2007
271,346.93
174,100.80
€445,448
2008
38,685.54
706,204.31
€744,890
2009
234,134.01
416,240.62
€650,375
2010
88,477.11
293,946.03
€382,423
2011
131,309.74
208,443.36
€339,753
2012
133,617.36
257,127.62
€390,745

Third Level Courses Availability

 458. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the measures he is taking to prevent the duplication of third-level courses in institutes of technology across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17004/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Ensuring streamlined and diverse provision of higher education is a key priority of the higher education reform agenda. The Higher Education Authority will shortly advise me on a future outline configuration for the system which will incorporate consolidation within the institute of technology sector and greater collaboration between all higher education institutions on a regional basis. One of the main objectives of the reconfiguration will be to improve quality outcomes for students and other stakeholders and to realise efficiencies and reduce duplication in higher education provision. In implementing the regional clusters, the HEA will engage with all higher education institutions in a strategic dialogue in a systematic way to ensure that there are clear pathways and higher education opportunities available to students on a regional basis, while avoiding unnecessary duplication.

Schools Review

 459. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding an application for an extension and refurbishment works to a school ( details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17010/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently awaiting the appointment of a Design Team and the commencement of architectural planning. Due to competing demands on the Department's capital budget imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements it was not possible to include this project in the 5 year construction programme announced in 2012.

School building projects currently in or commencing architectural planning but not included in the current five year construction programme, including the project referred to by the Deputy, will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to the Department in the future.

However, in light of current competing demands on the Department's capital budget, it is not possible to indicate, at this time, the timeframe for the progression of this project to tender and construction stage.

Site Acquisitions

 460. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if a site has been chosen for a proposed Gaelscoil (details supplied) in County Wicklow; the criteria that has been applied for the selection process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17046/13]

 492. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he has given consideration to circumstances (details supplied) regarding a school in County Wicklow. [17661/13]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 460 and 492 together.

The Deputies will be aware that I signed a Memorandum of Understanding between my Department and the County and City Managers' Association (CCMA) last year. This Memorandum of Understanding fosters increased levels of cooperation and formalises the local authorities' part in identifying and securing sites for educational use. In this context, my Department wrote to Wicklow County Council seeking their assistance in identifying land suitable for the delivery of school accommodation in the area referred to by the Deputies.

Following an assessment and consideration of options identified for the location of permanent school buildings, which took account of a range of relevant factors, including those set out in Technical Guidance documents published by my Department, the local authority, on behalf of my Department has engaged with a landowner in relation to the possibility of acquiring a suitable site.

Given the sensitivities associated with land acquisitions generally, I am not in a position to comment further at this time.


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