"Homeless children are a real challenge," says Bruton

Minister of Education Richard Bruton. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins
Minister of Education Richard Bruton. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

Minister of Education Richard Bruton has admitted that the growing number of homeless children is a "real challenge" for the government.

It is because the latest figures reveal that the number of homeless children has more than doubled in some parts of the country.

In general, the numbers continue to rise, with figures from the government of July showing that 9,891 homeless people live in Ireland.

Concern has been expressed about the number of homeless children returning to school and about support mechanisms for pupils.

Mr Bruton described it as a "difficult issue".

"We have a lot of support for children who come to school with all special needs, there is travel support for children who are homeless," he said.

"It is clear that our teachers, assistants with special needs and our clients make every effort to ensure that every child who comes to school is received as well as possible.

"We try to support these initiatives in schools, whether they are breakfast clubs or other children that support children so that they can participate.

"This is a real challenge for us – no other problem gets more attention than the challenge of homelessness.

"From the beginning, the government said that it is a challenge of five years and we are not halfway through that program.

"We continue to have difficulties, but many of the goals we have set have been achieved.

"This is a very difficult issue that we want to meet and challenge."

Mr Bruton said that he also acknowledged the budgetary pressure that primary schools have.

The minister made the remarks when he launched the School of The Future to emphasize educational reforms and more investments.


He said that his party's goal was to have the "best education system" in Europe by 2026.

"As young people return to school, they will benefit from increased investment in education and curricular reforms to help them make progress in life and reach their full potential," said Mr. Bruton.

"Fine Gael has invested more than € 1 billion in education over the past two years, making the education budget ever the highest amount ever at more than € 10 billion.

"Five thousand additional teachers were recruited over the past two years and in September 1,200 extra teachers were recruited.

"We also want to ensure that children with special educational needs can fulfill their potential."

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