Sunday 18 March 2018

'You just can't take it any more'

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

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.

Irish Independent

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