Tuesday 19 June 2018

It is possible - just about - to survive the steep learning curve of the teachers' Easter Via Dolorosa

Teacher union conferences are notoriously difficult, as Richard Bruton found out, writes former education minister Mary O'Rourke

Former minister for education Mary O’Rourke chatting to Bertie Ahern in the early 1990s
Former minister for education Mary O’Rourke chatting to Bertie Ahern in the early 1990s

Mary O'Rourke

I watched on TV last week in news snippets the progress of Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education, as he went from Killarney (INTO congress) to Cork (ASTI) and on to Wexford (TUI). They call that the 'Via Dolorosa' of Easter week for education ministers.

Why? I'll tell you why. When I went into the Department of Education in early 1987, just in time for the Easter conferences, that was the term put upon those journeys to the various teacher union conferences by some wag in the Department of Education, and the name has stuck since in my mind.

By and large, the members of the teacher unions regard these outings as part of their routine as teacher representatives.

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