Information received by Sinn Féin Councillor Matt Carthy shows that Co. Monaghan lost 9 Special Needs Assistants for the last academic year. Cllr. Carthy had to use the Freedom of Information Act to illicit the figures from the Department of Education after the Minister refused to provide them, even to TD’s who had submitted Parliamentary Questions on the issue.
The information contained in the FOI documentation shows that while 105 SNA’s were in place in Monaghan’s primary and secondary schools (excluding the VEC for which figures were not provided by the department) during the 2010/11 academic year that figure had been reduced to 93 during the 2011/12 year. Cllr. Carthy said that this was clear evidence that the governments targeting of children with special needs has had an impact at school level.
Cllr. Carthy said: “The government have been making great play in the pronouncements that the number of SNA’s will not decrease in the coming academic year. But the figures I received show that Co. Monaghan, for example, already lost almost 10% of its Special Needs Posts in 2011. For every SNA post lost there is a story of a child going without the full support that they need.
“I have not published the list of schools that have lost SNA’s because I believe that would be unfair on the school communities themselves. However I will be happy to release them to school boards or principals if they require them or to Fine Gael representatives who will undoubtedly try to down play the significant impact that their government’s cuts have had on Co. Monaghan children”.