Bruton to attend ASTI conference but will not deliver speech

Minister will be first to attend union congress since Ruairi Quinn was booed and heckled

Minister for Education Richard Bruton will not address the ASTI delegates ‘due to logistical constraints’. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Education Richard Bruton will not address the ASTI delegates ‘due to logistical constraints’. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Minister for Education Richard Bruton is to attend the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI)’s annual convention next month but will not address teachers.

Mr Bruton, who has been Minister for Education since May 2016, will be the first minister to attend the conference since Ruairi Quinn, the former Labour minister, was booed and heckled by delegates during his address about Junior Cert reform in 2014.

Mr Quinn was also heckled at the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) conference that year.

Another Labour minister, Jan O’Sullivan, did not attend last year’s teachers’ conferences as talks were ongoing on the formation of Government.

A spokesman for Ms O’Sullivan said at the time: “Given the outcome of the election, Minister O’Sullivan is of the view that it would be inappropriate for her to engage on such a basis while a new government is being formed.”

Ms O’Sullivan received a warmer reception when she attended the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and INTO conferences in 2015, but was not invited to the ASTI’s conference that year.

A spokesman for the Department of Education has confirmed that Mr Bruton will speak at the INTO Conference in Belfast on April 18th before travelling to Killarney, Co Kerry, to attend the ASTI’s convention dinner “as a guest of the union”.

He will not, however, address the ASTI delegates “due to logistical constraints”.

The following day, Mr Bruton will attend the TUI Conference in Cork where he will address delegates.