Union demands funding to fulfil school promises


THE IRISH National Teachers’ Organisation is demanding fresh funding in the forthcoming budget to implement commitments made in the recent revised programme for government.

In a pre-budget submission to the Minister for Finance, it says these commitments are “worthless without additional funding”.

The union says the commitment to maintain the pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools and to provide 200 extra teaching posts to schools badly affected by recent cuts must be funded in the budget.

It also called for benefits such as the free book grant to be restored.

The submission calls for supply panels of teachers to be established to provide substitute cover and continuity of employment to graduate teachers who otherwise may consider emigration or rely on social welfare. Incoming general secretary of the INTO, Sheila Nunan, said the recommendations on education cuts in the McCarthy report must not be introduced.

“Even a cursory examination by the Department of Finance of the proposal to close small schools would show that no money would be saved and that extreme hardship would result to many parents and children.”

The INTO said primary schools were the least well-funded sector of education and were facing increased running costs.

“In many schools, parents now contribute more to general school running costs than the State through voluntary contributions and fundraising activities. These increase inequity between schools,” said Ms Nunan.