SNAs deserve to be treated with respect

09 April 2020

Labour Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, has hit out at the Department of Education and the HSE for the way they have handled a potential redeployment of Special Needs Assistants.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“The mess the Government have made of asking SNAs to be redeployed as healthcare assistants is completely unnecessary.

“At this point, the Government have completely undermined any goodwill SNAs and their union have been willing to show in this situation.

“I am extremely frustrated at the lack of respect afforded to the SNA position by the Department and this latest incident is illustrative of this underlying lack of respect. No other public servants would be dealt with this way.

“I am also uncomfortable with encouraging a relatively lowly paid worker to engage in a process which is open ended without proper clarification from the Minister – who has completely mishandled this.

“At this juncture I don’t think SNAs should have to proceed with the vetting process. Vetting is conducted for a specific purpose/role and can be sought multiple times as per the need arising. So if SNAs do it now, they could well have to do it again at some other point in the future. Wasting Garda resources is not something we need at this point in time.

“What SNAs deserve at this point is respect to be shown to them and their position and not to be seen as a profession that can we shifted around the public service at a drop a hat. The Minister for Education needs to now make a clarifying statement that reaffirms the vital role SNAs have and will continue to have in the educational setting.”

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