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Government wins Dáil vote on SNAs

A motion was also put forward to reverse the cuts to Special Needs Assistants but, notably, Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn was not present to vote against it.

Updated, 22.16

THE NUMBER OF Special Needs Assistants in Ireland’s schools will be cut following a Dáil vote tonight.

The government won the motion to cap the number of  Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) by a margin of 103 to 47 votes -despite heated arguments in the Dáil chamber.

The government says it must cut the positions under the terms of the EU-IMF bailout, however some TDs have called for a renegotiation of the terms.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said that the government’s plans to introduce the SNA staff cap amounted to criminal neglect of children and, this morning, Finian McGrath told the Dáil that the withdrawal of the positions would leave Ireland in breach of its commitments under the European Convention of Human Rights.

However, Minister of State Ciaran Cannon defended the plans, pointing out that more than 350 SNAs had been employed in the last year, RTÉ reports.

Notably, the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn was not present to vote against a motion put forward by the Technical Group to reverse the cuts to SNAs – or to vote on his own amendment to the original motion (see voting charts below).

Government sources this evening confirmed that the minister is overseas.

Check Dáil seating chart

Earlier today, demonstrators congregated outside Leinster House to protest over government plans to cut the jobs of 200 Special Needs Assistants.

Additional reporting by Gavan Reilly

Read: Thousands expected at protest against Special Needs cutbacks >

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