Labour motion to recognise vital role of SNAs in our school system

13 December 2017

The Labour Party will today bring a motion before the Seanad that seeks to protect the employment rights of Special Needs Assistants, and recognise the vital role they play in our schools system.

Speaking ahead of the private members debate later today, Labour Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin commented:

“Ireland has close to 14,000 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) working in our schools system, who provide essential support for some of the most vulnerable children in our classrooms.

“However, their valuable contribution to the Irish education system is not reflected in their employment rights.

“For the past few years now, the delayed publication of SNA allocations for the 2018 school year to July- just two months before the new term starts- has caused enormous uncertainty for the thousands of SNAs around the country, who simply don’t know until the last minute whether they have a job to go back to in September.

“This also impacts the schools themselves, who need to plan for the year ahead, and the parents of children with special needs, who already have so much on their plate.

“Earlier this year, SNAs with IMPACT voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over these issues.

“The Labour Party motion we are proposing in the Seanad today acknowledges these concerns and calls for allocations to be announced no later than May.

“As well as recognising the vital role played by our SNAs, our motion also calls for arrangements to be put in place to bring about job security for SNAs, and setting up a system to deal with any SNA issues or grievances.

“Special Needs Assistants are not just fillers in our school system- they play a fundamental and crucial role, and it is high time the Department of Education treated them accordingly.”


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