Revelation that Minister has only met the INTO once since August is unbelievable and unacceptable

19 November 2020

The revelation that the Minister for Education has only met the INTO once since August is unbelievable and unacceptable according to Labour Education Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle told the Education Committee in response to a question from Deputy Ó Ríordáin that he has only met Minister Foley once since August.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said: 

“The teaching unions came before the Education Committee to outline the issues in relation to Covid-19 and schools particularly in regard to testing and tracing.

“Teachers and the entire education community have done trojan work and have gone above and beyond the call of duty in order to keep our schools open throughout this crisis. They are fatigued and at risk of burnout and many schools are only still functioning due to the professionalism and goodwill of staff.

“We have heard serious concerns from teaching unions in recent months in relation to testing and tracing, an adequate supply of personal protective equipment and social distancing in schools along with pre-existing issues in relation to pay inequality.  

“The very least these concerns deserve is a fair and reasonable hearing from the Minister. The only way for this to occur is for Minister Foley to meet with the unions on a regular basis. The fact that she has only met the INTO once indicates that Minister Foley is at best ambivalent to the concerns of teachers.

“Minister Foley is at pains to point out the importance of engaging with the education stakeholders. It is time she took her own advice and met the INTO as a matter of urgency. Teachers and teaching unions deserve to be shown respect and to have their genuine concerns addressed by the Minister.

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