| 2.4°C Dublin

Few teachers are unsatisfactory

Sir -- As I read your paper (Sunday Independent, Jan 1, 2012), I wonder if Emer O'Kelly had some dreadful experience with a teacher. I find her diatribe of generalised criticisms of teachers very insulting.

There is no acknowledgment that the vast majority of teachers are hard working, have high standards, and aim to teach the curricula in an interesting and energetic way.

Ms O'Kelly refers to a salary of €69,500. In order to earn this, one would need to be teaching for over 20 years and have a middle management post.

As for the job ending at four o'clock, surely she realises that one does not teach classes of teenagers without being prepared, and this takes time. In addition there are considerable corrections. I spend 10 to 15 hours per week after school on school work.

How can Ms O'Kelly make a statement that teachers "have been publicly proven to have failed society's needs, but continue to deny their own failures?"

What is this public proof? Most teachers are competent, some are exceptional and a small number are unsatisfactory. How hurtful to the vast majority who, over many years, have gone above and beyond what they are contracted to do. I believe Ms O'Kelly should retract these and some of the other inaccuracies in her article and apologise to the human beings she has slandered.

Tracy O'Doherty,

Kilmacow, Co Kilkenny

Sir -- I can only assume that Emer O'Kelly had a very bad experience in the education system to write such an illogical, ill-founded and badly researched article. (Sunday Independent, Jan, 2012).

She criticised teachers for applying to retire in February.

Surely if the 'teaching ministrations' of retiring teachers have been so 'inadequate', Ms O'Kelly would be happy to see them go? It seems that they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

She had no issue with the minister for choosing the ridiculous date of February 29 as the deadline to retire without loss of pension, which created the problem of teachers retiring during the academic year.

As a secondary school teacher, I know that very few of my colleagues earn the salary quoted by Ms O'Kelly. It is a rare day that ends at four in the afternoon.

We spend many hours preparing and correcting work and a 60-hour week is not unusual for me. Many teachers also spend much of their free time coaching sports teams, debating teams, preparing concerts, plays and shows etc.

Bríd Roche,

Tramore, Co Waterford

Sir -- Emer O'Kelly admits that 'young teachers . . . [might] have enthusiasm and possibly even idealism' but suspects, though on what evidence I cannot say, that 'the majority of them . . . have an eye to a high salary, the impossibility of being fired [sic], and three months' annual holiday'. For what little it may be worth, based on some ten years of experience in interviewing and selecting applicants for admission to a course in second-level subject teaching, I can say that I have found many to whom the former description applies (enthusiastic and idealistic) and few to whom the latter (self-serving) could be attached.

Of course, I can speak only from personal experience and can say nothing of admission to other institutions or to other kinds of teaching, but I consider her slurs to be unjustified, unwarranted and unhelpful. It is true, however, that Ireland's educational system is world famous for its excellence. World famous that is, in Ireland, but the typically enthusiastic and idealistic young students and teachers with whom I deal are rather more the solution than the problem and the system's faults are not of their making.

David Limond,

Professor and former Registrar,

School of Education,

Trinity College, Dublin, D2

Sir --Fascinating how so many privileged Lil Ol Rich Kids need to play at being terrorists.

Osama Bin Ladin came from one of the wealthiest clans of builders/speculators in Saudi Arabia -- indeed in the whole world.

The 19 hijackers on 9-11 were all very privileged.

And now we hear the unrepentant convicted Provo, Rose Dugdale on RTE with John Murray, and on TG4.

Her Provo IRA spent its time murdering Irish people -- police officers, both South and North, including six of our gardai, and mostly murdering ordinary civilians -- 636 of us.

Indeed, her Provo IRA murdered more Catholics than did the UDA -- see David McKittrick's massive work Lost Lives where their figures on Page 484 show 402 Catholics slain by the Provisional IRA.

She blames the RUC but they killed only 52 people, whereas her Provo IRA killed 1,771 or 34 times as many. Some "freedom fighters" indeed.

But it is really hard to listen to such English upper class terrorist toffs who turn from shooting and maiming deer, or savaging foxes, on their estates, to maiming and murdering us ordinary peasants in Ireland.

That's the revolution?

And when will TG4 give us even one documentary on, for example, brave women or Catholics in the RUC, instead of yet another uncritical, indeed fawning treatment of IRA terror?

Tom Carew,

Ranelagh, Dublin 6

Sir -- Once more Leopold Lip (Leo Varadkar) gets to have his say on everything from the EU/IMF deal to Anglo Irish to Children's Rights to European Treaty Votes to the Abolition of the Senate (Sunday Independent, Jan 1, 2012). Surprisingly, in his smug opinion piece on the Government's first 10 months in office, the Minister for Fast Lanes makes only one reference to areas that he actually has responsibility for -- Transport, Tourism and Sport -- and that was merely to revisit his pompous directive on the taxpayer's capacity to "Holiday for Ireland" as a tough austerity budget beckoned. So Minister, why don't you make a New Year's Resolution -- less talking the talk on things outside your remit and more walking the walk on sorting out the likes of Dublin Bus and other not fit-for-purpose semi-state bodies and providing a functioning 21st Century transport policy? Then we will take you seriously. To paraphrase JP Donleavy, "The Ludicrous Loquacities of Leopold Lip" will continue to undermine the efforts of the current administration

Mark Lawler,

Kilmainham, Dublin 8

Sir -- Why does RTE continue to allow Tommy Tiernan on the Late Late Show? I am very broadminded but I feel that Tommy crossed the line between fun and decency on a recent Friday night show. What have we become as a people that we can laugh at the likes of such rubbish! Some of the audience seemed to be genuinely amused and their age profile surprised me. It is not really Tommy's fault as I am sure that there are many more foulmouths like him in the country but they're not given a voice on our national airwaves. It is time for the Late Late to take its final leave now before the season ends, as it has become an embarrassment. In these difficult times we could all do with a good laugh, but please try to be a bit more respectful.

James J Heslin,

Lucan, Co Dublin

Sir -- So finally, the Revenue and Social Welfare computers are talking. But the technology to do this has been in existence for the last 15 years!

It was available to me, a software developer, before the year 2000, when I regularly linked together files of information coming from completely different computers so long as the data had a common attribute. The common attribute in the case of the Revenue and Social Welfare is the PPS number.

Anyone with a little more than basic database skills can now easily do this link up.

The people of this long suffering country deserve better from our government services which are costing us dearly -- and delivering highly questionable results.

Tom Barrett,

Foxrock, Dublin 18

Sunday Independent