[Sinn Fein]

27th November 2002

Truancy Officer urgently needed to prevent children slipping through the cracks of the education system

Sinn Fein Councillor Nicky Kehoe today called on the Department of Education to appoint a truancy officer for the Dublin 7 area as a matter of priority. Cllr. Kehoe said that growing numbers of children were roaming the streets during the day and were extremely vulnerable. Cllr. Kehoe said:

``Since the beginning of the school year growing numbers of children are visible on the streets of this area during the day. Not only are they at risk of falling through the cracks of the education system and leaving school early, they are also extremely vulnerable and liable to get into trouble.

``It is very difficult for parents to deal with this situation without proper back up from the state. I have been in touch with the Department of  Education in recent days to highlight this problem and to press for a truancy officer to be appointed for the area immediately.

``It is not good enough in this day and age that the education system continues to mirror and maintain social division and exclusion.  We need to see investment in infrastructure and facilities, class sizes must be reduced and we need to do everything in our power to keep young people in the education system so that they can reach their full potential.''

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