July 5, 2017, Irish Times: Taoiseach announces 975 additional special needs assistants https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/taoiseach-announces-975-additional-special-needs-assistants-1.3144162 …Ms McDonald said they were over a month behind in the allocation and parents were at their “wits’ end” over the delay while special needs assistants were left worrying about their future. She said assistants help children feel safe and secure in the classroom. Delays meant schools were not in a position to make plans or prepare pupils for the next school year and principals were not in a position to tell SNAs if they have a job for the next school years. … The budget for special education had risen by 32 per cent to €1.68 billion. He said there were currently 13,000 assistants, up 23 per cent from 10,000 in 2011. “There are more special needs assistants than for example, gardaí,” he said. The Taoiseach also pointed out that 20 per cent of the education budget goes on special education.