‘We’re available for work – let us teach our students’

Teachers at Pobalscoil Neasáin in Baldoyle disappointed classes did not go ahead

Seamus Ó Maonaigh (left) with fellow teachers outside Pobalscoil Neasáin in Baldoyle. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Seamus Ó Maonaigh (left) with fellow teachers outside Pobalscoil Neasáin in Baldoyle. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Seamus Ó Maonaigh was one of many secondary school teachers who went to school yesterday, available to teach their students.

The Mayo native, who teaches Irish and CSPE (civic, social and political education) at Pobalscoil Neasáin in Baldoyle, Dublin, said he was disappointed classes did not proceed as normal.

“Monday should have been the day that we were allowed to go into school to teach our classes,” he said.

“We went into school because we wanted to do that job. We were available to work and were hoping to work. However, the children were not in school, because letters from boards of management went out to schools advising parents not to send them to school.”

Mr Ó Maonaigh said he believed he would not be paid for turning up for work yesterday because no students had attended classes.

“My understanding is that if there is no students present we won’t be paid,” the former UCD Students’ Union welfare officer said. “I started work at 8.50am and finished at 3.55pm. I was in school for all that time, and if students had turned up . . . I would have been happy and willing to teach them.”

Contingency plan

He said he fully respected and supported the actions of the ASTI.

“People talk about us pulling out of supervision duties and withdrawing our labour. The Government would have known about this long ago,” he said. “They had weeks to arrange a contingency plan, so I think they have been poorly reactive to the whole thing.”

He said he backed today’s strike for lower-paid teachers.

“I’m lucky. I’m not one of those in post-2012. I’m in this game since 2006, but I’m fully behind my lower-paid colleagues who do just as good a job – amazing teachers who deliver such a professional service, and I don’t understand why there isn’t pay parity.

“That all of us cannot be rewarded, or start on the pay-scale at the same rate, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Mr Ó Maonaigh said it was difficult for teachers not to take up offers abroad.

“I have five emails from recruiters abroad in Abu Dhabi, China and America, and the salaries that they are offering and the benefits for Irish teachers, you could understand completely why people want to avail of them.”