Comment: Teacher unrest will impact on the GAA
Teachers have always made an immense contribution to the GAA and continue to do so, even in these much-changed times.
More than any other sporting organisation, the GAA has benefited from the input of the teaching profession, not just through out-of-hours training and coaching, but also in administration at all levels right up to director-general and president level.
Equality of pay is being addressed at the various teachers' conferences this week, with the blatant unfairness of the State paying different rates for the same work high on the agenda. It's very much in the GAA's interest that the disparity issue be resolved.
Younger teachers are feeling the brunt of what is barefaced discrimination, creating an environment which is scarcely conducive to encouraging them to contribute to out-of-hours school activities.
As the numbers in this category grow by the year, it takes no great foresight to predict that sporting activity in schools, which has always relied on teachers, will come under pressure.
Since the combined salaries of two young teachers is not enough to secure a mortgage for a modest house, they are more likely to seek extra work outside school than head for the playing fields.
Sporting organisations are reluctant to become involved in external matters but if teachers head for the gate rather than the pitch every evening, the impact on teams and individuals is obvious.
Of course, the real beneficiaries of the two-tier teaching pay scales are schools in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and beyond as thousands of Irish teachers head for the better conditions on offer.
Who can blame them?
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