‘Megaphone man’ elected to ASTI standing committee
Teacher who disrupted last year’s congress opposes ‘wearing people down with ballots’
Barry Hazel, Martin McMullin, Andrew Phelan and Fergal Greene at a recent ASTI convention: Mr Phelan says he hopes to play a more central role in influencing the union’s policies. Photograph Patrick Browne
The PE teacher dubbed “Megaphone man” for noisily disrupting last year’s ASTI congress has been elected on to its powerful standing committee.
Andrew Phelan, a teacher at Coláiste Phádraig CBS Lucan, in Co Dublin, says he hopes to play a more central role in influencing the union’s policies on forthcoming pay talks and curriculum reform.
Mr Phelan, a former member of the Socialist Party who made headlines last year when he used a loudhailer to interrupt former minister Ruairí Quinn, has been elected on to the ASTI’s 23-member standing committee with another member of the ASTI Fightback group, Mark Walshe.
Asked whether he would have liked Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan to have been invited to this year’s conference, Mr Phelan said, “I wouldn’t want to sit there and listen to a predetermined speech” but there could have been merit in her taking questions from the floor under an “open mic” arrangement.
The addition of the Fightback members to the ASTI’s key decision-making committee is expected to harden the union’s stance further against the junior cycle reforms.
Mr Phelan said he had been concerned at “suggestions” within the ASTI that members would be asked to ballot on Ms O’Sullivan’s revised plan. He was opposed to “wearing people down with ballots”.