Seanad debates

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

10:30 am

Photo of Robbie GallagherRobbie Gallagher (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I concur with the views of Senator Paddy Burke. The terms and conditions of councillors in many spheres need to be addressed and I look forward to the Minister coming in early in the new year to do just that.

I wish to raise the terms and conditions of some school secretaries. The school secretary is the first point of contact when one enters a school. The secretary is a vital link between pupils, teachers and parents and many principals will say their school would not function properly without the school secretary. Despite the important role they play, their terms and conditions leave a lot to be desired. There are two groups of school secretary, those paid directly by the Department of Education and Skills and those paid out of the ancillary grant. Both do the exact same job but they have very different terms and conditions. The secretaries paid by the Department are public servants and they enjoy standard terms and conditions but the secretaries paid out of the ancillary grant are in a very different situation. Their terms and conditions are at the discretion of the board of management. School boards of management are under a lot of financial pressure and are limited in what they can do. This group of school secretaries have to sign on during their holidays, whether at Christmas, summer or Easter, and this is very unfair. Other support staff, such as SNAs, have better terms and conditions, which is right. I would like this issue to be addressed as soon as possible as it is very unfair on school secretaries. I would like the Minister to come into the House in the new year to outline his strategy to ensure school secretaries are given proper terms and conditions.


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