Progress in talks on restoring allowances worth €5,000 to new teachers
Progress has been reported in talks aimed at restoring annual allowances worth €5,000 to newly qualified teachers - but the Department of Education has been warned that a deal must be done soon.
A time frame for restoration could head off a threat of second-level school closures within weeks of the start of the new term.
Discussions between the teacher unions and the departments of education and public expenditure and reform have been taking place in the face of a warning by the Association of Secondary Teachers' Ireland (ASTI) that it would ballot for industrial action if the matter was not resolved by August 31.
The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) said that progress was "unacceptably slow".
Fianna Fáil education spokesman Thomas Byrne said "dragging these talks on beyond this week could cause severe difficulties". As pressure mounted on the Department of Education, a spokesperson reported "productive progress and the aim is to conclude the discussions by early next month".