Sunday 23 July 2017

Teachers still top of class for 31st Dail representation

Patricia McDonagh

TEACHERS will still make up the largest professional group in the 31st Dail -- despite an increase in TDs with more varied backgrounds.

One-fifth of those so far elected have an educational background.

And with counting still going on in three constituencies the final tally could be even higher.

A total of 154 seats have been filled and 30 of these TDs are former national and secondary school teachers, pre-school teachers and university lecturers.

The number is down from 2007 when 38 politicians who previously worked in education entered the Dail.

But despite this, the sector is still the largest to be represented -- with only farmers and those who state that their full-time occupation is "public representative" following it.

The revelation comes in the wake of anger at the number of teacher-turned-politicians, some of who are in line for double or triple pensions when the leave office.

Under changes being introduced by the Department of Education, newly elected teacher-TDs and senators will be able to keep their old jobs open for up to 10 years in future.

However, the teachers-turned-politicians will not be able to chalk up both teaching and Oireachtas pensions at the same time.

Of the 30 teacher-politicians who will enter the new Dail, 21 are sitting TDs who have been returned and nine are new TDs who have just been elected.



Lecturers

The Dail will have two college lecturers -- Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins, who is a former lecturer at the Limerick Institute of Technology, and Joan Burton from DIT.

There are five school principals -- three of whom are new TDs: Labour's Aodhan O Riordain; Fine Gael's Mary Mitchell O'Connor; and Fine Gael's Jim Daly.

Pre-school teacher Jan O'Sullivan will also be serving in the Dail as will People Before Profit Independent TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who is a former teacher of English to foreign students.

The second largest occupation for TDs in the new Dail are those who were already full-time public representatives, of which there are 23.

Farmers are the third largest professional grouping -- with 15 politicians listing this as their occupation.

The Dail will also see seven former barristers and solicitors -- down from the 16 TDs who listed this as their occupation in the last Dail. And the 31st Dail will have three GPs -- Fine Gael TDs Dr James Reilly, Leo Varadkar and Liam Twomey.

It will also see a raft of other occupations. New Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington is a former An Post employee, while his colleague Peter Mathews is a banking and finance consultant.

New Socialist Party TD Clare Daly is a former Aer Lingus catering assistant, while new Sinn Fein TD Jonathan O'Brien is a qualified roofer.

New Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan is a former director of a merchandising company, while new Sinn Fein TD Michael Colreavy is a former IT project manager for the Health Service Executive.

Veteran Fianna Fail TD Eamon O Cuiv is a former Gaeltacht co-operative manager and Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris is a former fisherman.

Irish Independent

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