Bernadine O'Sullivan seeks Seanad election


In a surprise move, the former ASTI president, Ms Bernadine O'Sullivan, has agreed to allow her name go forward for nomination for the Seanad elections.

Ms O'Sullivan, the leading figure in the ASTI campaign for a 30 per cent pay increase, is expected to seek the ASTI nomination to the NUI panel at a meeting of its standing committee shortly.

If successful, Ms O'Sullivan will be battling for votes with Senator Joe O'Toole, the general secretary of the INTO, with whom she clashed during the teachers pay campaign.

Last night she refused to comment on the issue when contacted by The Irish Times. But a close ally said Ms O'Sullivan confirmed the move.

Ms O'Sullivan hopes to gather votes from many teachers left exasperated by the failure of the ASTI to win support from the other teaching unions, the INTO and the TUI. One source close to her campaign said last night: "We can pick up votes from the thousands of teachers in all three teaching unions who believe the profession has got a raw deal."

Ms O'Sullivan was the leading proponent of the radical ASTI pay strategy. She has been a prominent opponent of the benchmarking pay review which she says will lead to the "industrialisation" of teaching and undermine the caring nature of the profession.

The ASTI has refused to co-operate with the benchmarking body. Both the INTO and the TUI are pressing their case for pay increases of up to 34 per cent before the benchmarking body.

The ASTI will ballot members next week on the £27 per hour offer for supervision and substitution duties. The union has also directed members to withdraw from in-service training