Teachers' union makes investment plea
Education is a human right which appears to have no place in the balance sheet of Ireland's financiers, a union said today.
The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) argued teachers and pupils are suffering because of the appalling misdeeds of those in authority.
General secretary Peter MacMenamin told delegates at its annual conference investment in education was necessary to have a well-educated workforce to beat the recession.
"The cause is not of our making but we suffer the effects," he said.
"We suffer the effects of reductions in our pay and pensions, curtailment of our ability to do the job that we want to do.
"In many cases, poverty in the classroom is not just poverty of the student but it is poverty also of some of our members, brought about by the appalling misdeeds of those in authority - both in banks and in Government."
The trade union - which represents 14,500 post-primary, higher and further education teachers and lecturers - wants a moratorium on posts of responsibility lifted, pensions for retired members protected and the rights of new members entering the profession protected.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn will address delegates at Congress 2011 in Tralee, Co Kerry, tomorrow.
TUI president Bernie Ruane told members education cannot move forward without investment.
"Investment in education pays the biggest dividends. You cannot deliver a first-class education system on a shoestring," she said.
Ms Ruane maintained the TUI will fight for an equal and just society and warned any future efforts to damage education and educators will be done at the Government's peril.
"Our students will not pay for the excesses of the banks," she added.
"Let the law be changed to take the money off these inept bankers. We should not pay their bonuses and pensions.
"The Department of Finance needs to change the way it looks at education. All spending in the sector should be regarded as capital spending and investment in the future of our country."
The Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) and secondary school teachers' union ASTI are also holding annual conferences this week.