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Sunday 23 July 2017

'Forget about buying a house' - young teachers protest over pay

ASTI teachers protest outside the Dáil Picture: Arthur Carron
ASTI teachers protest outside the Dáil Picture: Arthur Carron
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Young teachers took to the Dáil to protest the two-tier pay system which they have said is impacting on their quality of life.

Dozens of teachers who graduated post-2011 gathered at a demonstration alongside their more seasoned colleagues just hours after the Association of Secondary School Teaches Ireland (ASTI) voted for industrial action.

William O'Brien. Picture: Arthur Carron
William O'Brien. Picture: Arthur Carron

William O'Brien (33), from Rathfarnham in Dublin, teaches history in his alma mater Rockbrook Park School.

He graduated in 2012 and said yesterday that he would have opted for a different career had he known the pay scales he would be faced with.

"I don't know of any other profession in the public or the private sector where such a vast pay differential exists between two people doing the exact same job.

"The cost of living hasn't gone down. The Celtic Tiger is back to an extent, but new teachers' salaries are back 20 or 30 years, so is it difficult to be a newly qualified teacher? Absolutely.

Madeleine Ni Ghallchobhair. Picture: Arthur Carron
Madeleine Ni Ghallchobhair. Picture: Arthur Carron

"Forget about buying a house, insurance costs, all of the things that go with living in a modern society and a modern capital city," he said.

Mr O'Brien added: "Nobody gets into teaching to make money or become a millionaire, but there is an expectation that you work hard, you spend six years studying so that you'll have a relatively decent standard of living, doing a job that you love doing. One part of that is missing and that's the standard of living."

Irish and English teacher Madeleine Ní Ghallchobhair (28), who teaches in the Dominican College on Griffith Avenue in Dublin, addressed the crowd and spoke about the current pay and conditions acting as a disincentive for teachers to upskill.

"The quality of my education directly impacts on the quality of education I can pass on to the 300 or so students that I will have every year over my 45-year career," she said.

"Encouraging teachers to upskill is absolutely important.

"This depends on if, as a country, we want to attract the best people into teaching. Do we value the education of our students?" she asked.

Another teacher, Seán Lynch (26) from Sligo, said some of his classmates from college were paid more because they were paid for their work experience while studying.

Irish Independent

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