Minister must address disrespectful late payment of special education staff – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on the Minister of State for Special Education Josepha Madigan to provide urgent clarity for staff, both on when they will receive payment for work completed on the Supplementary Programme, and the earlier date for payment promised for this year’s Summer Provision programme.
Speaking after a Question & Answer session in the Dáil with the Minister, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“I of course welcome the announcement of an expanded Summer Provision programme. I would be concerned, however, that increased eligibility does not automatically equal increased participation in the programme, if there’s not the staff to facilitate this.
“Every year, staff are discouraged from facilitating the programme, due to long delays in payment. The Minister’s announcement on Tuesday made passing reference to an earlier payment of school staff.
“In the Dáil chamber this morning, I urged Minister Madigan to provide clarity on when exactly that payment will now be. She would not do so.
“After this exchange, I was contacted by an SNA, who informed me that staff in special education were also still waiting on payment for work undertaken a number of months ago as part of the Supplementary Programme.
“The Department of Education had given the SNA vague assurances that payment would be given in July or August, 5 or 6 months after the completion of the work. In no other job, would a worker be expected to wait half a year for payment.
“It is difficult to see how we can incentivise staff to volunteer for the Summer Provision programme this year, when the very same staff are still waiting for payment for work completed a number of months ago now.
“It is completely disrespectful, that the Minister is promising an expanded programme this year, but is doing nothing to encourage staff to take part, knowing that they will put up with this poor treatment because they care deeply about their students and want to support them.
“If the Minister wants to ensure there is an expanded Summer programme this year, she must immediately pay staff for their work on the Supplementary Programme, and she must provide clarity on when exactly the earlier payment for provision this summer will be."