'You just can't take it any more'
Published 24/04/2014 | 02:30
A TEACHER has stood over using a megaphone to heckle Ruairi Quinn, claiming that he had been driven by frustration over the Government not listening to concerns.
PE teacher Andrew Phelan (34), of Lucan CBS, Dublin, said: "In previous years, people have tried to voice their opinion and objection to the minister. All I did was speak louder through the microphone."
Mr Phelan (pictured), who is a member of the ASTI Fightback group set up in the aftermath of the first Croke Park deal, warned that teachers can only be "pushed so far".
He said: "What do you want us to do? Sit down and be silent, fold our arms and give the minister a clap – these are life issues.
"There comes a point when you just can't take it any more."
Mr Phelan said he did previously canvas for Socialist Party Dublin West TD Joe Higgins in the by-election in 2011, but is no longer a member of the Socialist Party.
Asked about his students' reaction to his megaphone, Mr Phelan said: "If my students say, 'I saw you on the news', I'll explain to them exactly why I was doing what I was doing.
"I was standing up for you, for the education system, I was standing up for myself trying to pay my mortgage.
"That is the lesson we should be teaching people – to stand up for themselves and not give over to the bullies."
Mark Walshe, a teacher from Swords, north Dublin, who heads the body calling itself the ASTI Fightback group, said it had been instrumental in starting the heckling but denied it was orchestrated.