‘Our own Government doesn’t seem to value us’

Young teachers say they are suffering worst effects of cutbacks

Delegates Austin Fennessy, Co Dublin, Martina Boyle, Co Monaghan, Anne Mannion, Co Dublin and Joe McGrath, Co Monaghan, at the TUI Congress in Galway yesterday. Photograph: Joe 4/4/2013

Delegates Austin Fennessy, Co Dublin, Martina Boyle, Co Monaghan, Anne Mannion, Co Dublin and Joe McGrath, Co Monaghan, at the TUI Congress in Galway yesterday. Photograph: Joe 4/4/2013

Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 20:05

Iggy Dineen, a metalwork and technical graphics teacher from Co Cork, received a standing ovation after delivering a powerful speech on the pay and conditions of newly qualified teachers.

A visibly emotional Mr Dineen told a hushed room that new proposals would see his salary fall from €39,195 per year to €30,702, a cut of nearly 25 per cent.

Mr Dineen graduated from the University of Limerick with first-class honours, in May 2012. Of a class of 60, only seven have secured teaching work. “Students and third-level colleges are funded by the Irish State, and yet I’ve had to watch my friends and classmates emigrate in search of work,” he told The Irish Times later.


‘Upsetting’
“It’s particularly upsetting and frustrating because Irish teachers are in such demand in England, Australia, and Canada - a testament to how good they are – and yet our own Government doesn’t seem to value us.”

Paying the rent is a struggle, he said. “I can’t afford anything at the end of the month. I’m doing a part-time PhD in education but I don’t know if I will be able to continue funding it with the new cuts coming in.”

Due to a complicated and often bewildering array of differing salary scales for teachers who entered the profession between 2010 and today, Mr Dineen can sign a new contract for a new payscale. But he insists he won’t teach on the new salary scale while his colleagues and peers are left behind.

The conference also heard the loss of additional payments for teachers with master’s degrees or PhDs had removed any incentive for them to progress beyond a basic degree.

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