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Thursday 1 June 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Google Maps St Bernadette's NS in Quarryvale.
# special needs cuts
Parents found out "by accident" that SNA hours had been lost
A group of parents have been angered after finding out on Facebook that a Special Needs Assistant lost her job.

A GROUP OF parents at a Dublin school plan to march on the Dáil after they found out that special needs supports were cut “by accident”.

Donna Nechita, who has four children at St Bernadette’s school in Clondalkin, says that she did not find out that SNA hours at the school had been cut.

“I’m friends with the SNA who lost her job and it was only when I logged on to Facebook that I’d seen she was saying goodbye to people. When I asked what was going on, she told me that she’d lost her job.

“The school are normally really good about sending out newsletters and keeping us informed, but we haven’t heard a thing about this beforehand.”

Donna, whose children do not need SNA support, says that parents have come together and made contact with the school, the Department of Education and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

The principal of the school, local Labour councillor Breeda Bonner, did not return a request for comment, but has told parents that the school had only discussed the issue with parents whose children were impacted.

This has been disputed by Donna, who says that parents whose children are affected are involved with the campaign to restore services and were unaware of the cut.

Bonner’s response to Donna added that the school had lost hours, but only because there is less demand for the services.

Our school has lost some SNA provision because some children with care needs have moved schools and others have improved in terms of the amount of care they need.  If new children start in the school with care needs then we apply to our Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) and will hopefully be granted more SNA provision.

That’s the way the system works, and in general it works well.  Of course we’d love to have more SNA provision in an ideal world.  However, as school principal I try to ensure that we get the resources we need to cope with our children with special needs.


Donna says that the situation is “absurd”.

“It’s underhandedness but it was done at the 25th hour when we couldn’t do anything about it.

The school can tell us how well the children look in their uniforms, but can’t tell us this?

The Department of Education has told the parents that the situation fell under the remit of the NCSE.

The NCSE say that the matter is “currently being examined” and that they will issue a reply to parents as soon as possible.

Local Sinn Féin representative Eoin O’Broin called on parents from the area to contact the NCSE, adding that the area needed the SNAs.

“The reduction in hours is wrong and should be reversed.

“The SNAs are vital to the wider community and the people who need them most are the ones that will suffer.

This is an area has high unemployment, high anti-social behaviour and drug problems. [If cuts need to be done] they have to be done in fair and proportional way. Nobody can tell me that the Bernadettes schools should take their cut.

Read: 118 new classes to open for children with special needs

Read: Disability Federation of Ireland hits out at Lynch letter to parents

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