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In brief: Union addresses discrimination

TEACHERS have voted in favour of the repeal of a "draconian" piece of legislation, which they claim allows for discrimination against homosexual teachers.

At their annual congress in Tralee, the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) members called on the Government to remove the right of certain schools to discriminate against gay or lesbian teachers on religious grounds when hiring. Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said: "I can't anticipate what final action the Government will take but, look, the country has moved on considerably, people are more tolerant and inclusive."

INTO appoints full female leadership

For the first time the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) has an all-female leadership.

General secretary Sheila Nunan, the first woman to hold that job, has been joined by new president Noreen Flynn and vice-president Ann Fay at the union's helm.

Teachers demand ratio be restored

The Government has been warned that changes to the education sector are dependent on restoring the crucial pupil-teacher ratio.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) issued the demand as the union adopted a motion demanding that the pupil-teacher ratio be restored to an 18:1 margin. Delegates warned that bigger class sizes will impact on young people's educational experience.

Strategy devised to end embargo

TEACHERS are being urged to refuse to collect fees for the Junior and Leaving Cert exams until the Government, at least partially, reverses the embargo on recruitment.

ASTI executive member Noel Buckley said: "We could say to management, 'You figure out how to run the collection of exam fees.' And this would prompt a quick response."

Quinn refuses to scrap funding

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn has ruled out removing state support for fee-paying schools.

However, he said he would be looking at the issue of inclusion across the entire secondary sector, amid accusations by the TUI that fee-paying schools were at "the bottom of the table when it comes to inclusivity". The teachers' union carried a motion calling for the €100m paid to fee-paying schools to be diverted to disadvantaged schools.

Irish Independent