Life Learning

Friday 29 August 2014

Probe into claims of death threats and abuse

Ralph Riegel

Published 25/04/2014 | 02:30

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ASTI General Secretary Pat King addresses delegates. Picture: Patrick Browne
ASTI General Secretary Pat King addresses delegates. Picture: Patrick Browne

A teachers' union is to investigate claims that its general secretary received death threats and had abusive comments posted online about his family.

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Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland general secretary Pat King (63) said he received "death threats" and saw despicable comments about his children and grandchildren on a union members' website.

Incoming ASTI president Philip Irwin confirmed an investigation will be held by the union into Mr King's claims.

Mr Irwin said: "I wish to state as president-elect that I am unaware of any formal communication from the general secretary to the president and the officers on these matters between January and this public statement yesterday."

BULLYING

But he added that in view of the statements about the "death threats and bullying", he believes it is "incumbent" on the union to investigate.

Mr King said he had felt "abused" by the online postings.

But he told the Irish Independent he had declined to go to the gardai about the issue.

The comments were removed from the website by moderators after Mr King formally complained.

Mark Walshe, a teacher from Swords, north Dublin, who heads a group calling itself ASTI Fightback, said he had no knowledge of a death threat on its Facebook site.

As moderators of the site, which is one of several forums teachers leave comments on, he said they removed a reference that Mr King had complained about in January and which had referred to his grandchildren.

He said the nature of the post from another person had questioned how Mr King could "look at his grandchildren in the eye" over the cutbacks to education.

Irish Independent

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