TD donates half his pay so school can hire teacher after budget cut
A RURAL primary school which lost its third teacher earlier this year has now got the go-ahead to hire another one and pay them with half their local TD's salary.
Fine Gael's Brendan Griffin, who has only accepted half his €92,000 salary since being elected to the Dail in February, is now to donate the other half to Fybough National School in his South Kerry constituency.
The former three-teacher school near Castlemaine lost a teacher when revised pupil/teacher ratios were announced in November's Budget, raising the threshold to qualify for three teachers from 49 to 51 pupils.
The school was also unsuccessful in its appeal to the Department of Education and Skills and had resigned itself to coping with two teachers for its 49 pupils come September.
Although the gesture by Mr Griffin is too late for the teacher who lost his job, it means the school now has the money to hire an extra teacher privately.
As the last man in, John Brosnan's job in Fybough was on the line when the changes came in.
He was then placed on the panel and is due to start a new job in a different school in December.
Meanwhile, the principal and board of management at Fybough will have to go through the interview process again during the summer but at least are in a position to take on a new teacher -- something up to 100 other small primary schools will not be able to do.
"It's absolutely fantastic, especially when we were so downhearted after losing the appeal," school principal Angela Prendergast told the Irish Independent.
"Then Brendan came up with this proposal."
Mr Griffin said he was delighted to be in a position to help.
"It's an issue I feel very strongly about and the bottom line is there will be a third teacher in the school next September," he said.