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Tuesday 28 February 2017

'It is a sombre day' - Why this teacher is forced to commute four hours every day

Laura Larkin

Niamh O'Brien can't afford to live near her workplace
Niamh O'Brien can't afford to live near her workplace

Niamh O'Brien has been working as a teacher since 2014 and faces a two-hour commute to work because she can't afford to live near her school.

She teaches history and English in St Benildus College in Stillorgan, Co Dublin, and has no choice but to live two hours away from her workplace.

"With rent averaging €800 a month in the city, the reality is I am not in a position to live close to work.

"I travel a two-hour commute to and from work daily. For me and the majority of lower-paid teachers, the idea of owning a house has merely become a pipe dream," she said.

"In terms of feeling valued as a professional, there is no debate. Teachers on the post-2011 pay scale are devalued, the figures speak for themselves."

The quality of teachers will suffer if the terms and conditions are not improved, she warned.

"I think if these conditions are to continue, the calibre of teacher will decline. It would seem the profession is not as highly regarded as it once was," she said.

"It is a sombre day, the day we stop and realise we have let the quality and the value of our education system suffer at the hands of those who do not recognise equality."

Irish Independent

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