Teachers' pay claim


Sir, - It is a sad day indeed when the paper of record seeks to shore up a discredited Government stance against trade unionism. I refer to your somewhat less than independent Editorial of December 18th.

Why you chose to take the occasion of the appointment of an independent facilitator to present such a counsel of despair to the ASTI is mind-boggling and must so skew and bias public perception of the issues as to render Mr Pomphrett's job impossible. Were it not for such bias, an independent facilitator might not be necessary.

I should like to remind readers of the honourable tradition of dissenter so praised by Voltaire and Wolfe Tone. We as teachers are not unaffected when we inculcate in the young the right to think for themselves. This noble right is not inimically threatening to social partnership but rather acts as the guarantor that social partnership will not reduce to a bullying of the minorities by a majority.

Once the fourth estate understood that without the right to adopt an independent viewpoint freedom of the press itself was threatened. Each trade union has the right to associate or dissociate from organisations such as ICTU as long as such associations continue to serve the unions' interests. The argument that the ASTI's interests were best served by ICTU or that the other two teachers' unions have the same concerns is as fallacious as claiming that politicians from different parties and independents have the same concerns.

I must thank you for providing my students with such a fine example of rhetorical deception dressed as reasonable argument. In the long tradition of Socrates's search for truth, such phrases as "has begun to melt away" reveal such double-think as to out-Orwell - well - Orwell! The next generation will be the critical one and then the title "the paper of record" will rise to condemn. Like Voltaire I do not agree with what you say but I will die for your right to say it. - Yours, etc.,

Fergal Canton, Hon Branch Secretary, ASTI, Kilkenny.