Teacher pay: ‘Even with my partner’s income, we struggle to make ends meet’

Seán Fox says it is impossible for young teachers to afford to pay a mortgage

 Seán Fox says grants for newly-built houses encourage developers to push up prices. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Seán Fox says grants for newly-built houses encourage developers to push up prices. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

 

Like many young teachers, Seán Fox is struggling to make ends meet on account of high rent, childcare and living costs. On the one hand, he says, he’s lucky. He began his career just before the cuts to salaries and allowances affecting those who started teaching in 2011. But even on older pay scales, he says many young teachers are unable to meet strict deposit requirements to buy their own homes.

The 33-year-old father of three and his partner Maireád, a nurse, rent a home in Finglas in Dublin, which costs about €1,400 a month.

While they would like to own their own home, he says they are unable to afford to buy. “It’s ironic that the mortgage we’d need would be the same, or even a bit lower, than what we’re currently paying in rent. But the mortgage rules mean we need to have at least €30,000 and it’s impossible to save anything like that with our current costs.”

Fox, who works as a history and English teacher in Beneavin College, says childcare costs run at close to €1,000 a month. This in turn, he says, reduces the amount banks are willing to lend to families like his.

While many young teachers do not have permanent contracts and rely on fragments of work, he says he is in the fortunate position of having secured a contract of indefinite duration last year.

He says grants for newly-built houses encouragedevelopers to push up the prices they ask. He thinks easing the deposit requirements for first-time buyers might be a better solution.