Special needs assistants offered €650 in gift vouchers in return for ‘toileting’ pupils

Labour Court proposal aimed at resolving dispute between Scoil Mochua and SNAs

The Labour Court has recommended that a 23 strong group of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) drop their objection to carrying out toileting duties for special needs pupils at a Dublin school and now carry out the tasks.

In return, the court has recommended the SNAs each receive gift vouchers totalling €650 from Scoil Mochua in Clondalkin, which is attached to the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC), for carrying out the toileting duties.

The court has made the recommendation for the gift vouchers totalling €14,920 total for the 23 as a way of resolving the dispute between the SNAs and school management.

In the case, school management told the Labour Court that it simply requires the SNAs to do tasks that are reasonably required of all SNAs who work in similar schools as has been recognised by the Deptartment of Education in their various circulars.


The school also pointed out that the SNAs employed after 2016 at Scoil Mochua are fulfilling this role and the school wants to ensure equality in the workplace.

The school stated that the increased pressure on the healthcare and nursing staff cannot continue.

In support of their argument, school management cited a Department circular which points out that the functions of SNAs include the toileting needs of children who are doubly incontinent and who require nappies, and children who are doubly incontinent and who require the constant or occasional use of adult continence pads.

The school does not dispute that traditionally this cohort of workers have not carried out these duties but as the demands on the services provided by the school increase, the school now needs all the SNAs to carry out these duties.

In response, FORSA union told the court that the work in question amounted to a change in their terms of employment.

They contended that the students in question have complex toileting needs that the school and other special schools had previously identified as requiring support from Nursing staff or from healthcare assistants.

The union claimed the role of the SNA is to provide support in an educational context and to free up the teacher.

In its recommendation, the Labour Court found that the fact that workers had not previously carried out a duty cannot mean that they are permanently exempted from carrying out that duty.

In the recommendation, the court has recommended the carrying out by the 23 of toileting duties be fully operational by January 1st next.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times