INTO general secretary to retire next year

Sheila Nunan has led country’s biggest teachers’ organisation for a decade

The general secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has announced that she will retire next summer.

Sheila Nunan has led the country's biggest teachers' union for almost a decade and has been centrally involved in public sector pay talks over recent years.

The union said the early notification of her departure was due to operational rules requiring enough time be set aside for the election of a general secretary designate.

An internal election will begin soon with the aim of electing a successor later in the year.


INTO president Joe Killeen said Ms Nunan remains at the head of the union for the coming year where her "unwavering, steadfast and strategic leadership will ensure we deliver for our members in the forthcoming budget and beyond."

Ms Nunan (59) is the current president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and been centrally involved in public sector pay negotiations in recent years through her role as vice-chair of Ictu's public services committee.

A former primary school teacher and principal, Ms Nunan is a graduate of UCD and St Patrick's College, Drumcondra.

She has been a member of the executive of the INTO since 1995 and was INTO President in 2005/2006.

Meanwhile the INTO’s central executive committee has expressed frustration that an agreement has not yet been reached on payscales for new entrants.

On foot of austerity-era cost-savings, teachers hired since 2011 are on a lower payscales than those hired prior to that date.

The committee acknowledged that talks have progressed over the summer period with the expectation that they will now continue into September.

The INTO, in common with the ASTI and TUI, is demanding an end to pay inequality facing new entrants to the profession since January 2011.

INTO president Joe Killeen said members’ patience was “wearing thin” after seven years of pay inequality.

“It’s a national embarrassment that we return to classrooms across the nation again this year without clarity on an end to this injustice. Industrial action isn’t something we threaten lightly,” he said.

“We know only too well the disruption it causes for parents and children. We have been patient. We have entered these negotiations in good faith. Government must put an end to pay inequality in short order.”

He added: “We remain committed to these talks, to delivering for our members, and putting the outcome to a ballot per our motion at Congress earlier in the year”.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent