July 13, 2017, (Ireland) Waterford Today: Minister Halligan announces extra Special Needs Assistants http://www.waterford-today.ie/waterford-today-news/10762-minister-halligan-announces-extra-special-needs-assistants-10762.html This increased allocation will bring the total number of Special Needs Assistants in Waterford to 325 and will result in additional special needs resources at schools across Waterford from September, according to Minister Halligan, as well as new special needs classes for pupils with Autism at Mount Sion and St Paul’s primary schools in the city and also Scoil Naomh Gobnait in Coolnasmear. Annually, the number of Special Needs Assistants has increased by 32% across the country, from 10,575 to 13,990 since 2011, Minister Halligan noted: “This increase reflects the growing participation of children with special educational needs and will support their full participation and progression within the educational system. ... In 2017 the Department of Education and Skills will invest €1.68 billion in special educational needs, almost one fifth of the Department’s entire budget. This spend has increased by over 30% since 2011.