Tanaiste's 'insulting' comments infuriate managers
Published 30/04/2010 | 05:00
Education Minister Mary Coughlan was accused of insulting managers by suggesting they were lucky to have principals and deputy principals appointed to their schools.
An attempt to explain how principals were exempted from the ban on filling public sector jobs was greeted with jeers at the annual conference of the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools in Kilkenny.
The Tanaiste said she and her colleagues had participated in very difficult discussions over the past two years during which her predecessor Batt O'Keeffe fought very hard to ensure that they were exempt.
But association secretary general Ferdia Kelly reacted strongly to her comments, saying they were insulting.
He found it equally insulting to suggest that schools were 'lucky' to have additional teachers to cater for increased numbers of pupils. "Minister, in all truth, do we need to go back to the '30s and '40s and have 60 or 70 kids in our classrooms," he asked.
Mr Kelly also criticised the effects of the ban on filling other jobs.