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'Letter of Week' hard on teachers

Sir -- It is one thing to campaign for the further reduction in the wages of public servants, as many of your columnists do week after week. It appears to be the editorial policy of the Sunday Independent. Fair enough. But by awarding a prize to D Johnson for 'Letter of the Week' (January 1) you are showing either a willingness to endorse misinformation to further your campaign or that you are poorly informed regarding the issues.

That letter contained enough inaccuracies to demonstrate that the writer clearly isn't au fait with the issues raised.

As a recently retired teacher, I can state that it is inaccurate to say that "those who attempt to live off their pension and lump sum will cease to contribute taxes". I pay tax on my pension and I haven't "gone back into the system".

It is also inaccurate to state that teachers who are retiring early will be going back into the system as replacement teachers doing substitute work. This was the case when there was a shortage of available substitutes, but now almost 100 per cent of substitute work is done by recently qualified unemployed teachers. This is as it should be.

Furthermore, it is misleading to say that "those who feel they would not survive outside the cocoon will stay". The vast majority of teachers retiring are intending to do just that.

I have spoken to very many retired or retiring teachers and the prospect of future employment doesn't come up as an issue at all. In fact, with the way things are going, I would say that those not retiring are showing plenty of "gumption" by staying on.

Kevin Barry,

Killiney, Co Dublin

Sunday Independent