Ireland

Ireland Image by niassembly via Flickr

Overview

Education in Ireland is compulsory from ages 5-16, with an additional mandatory 3 years up to the age of 18. The Irish Government most recent proposals include a termination of payments for the operation of the supervision and substitution scheme in schools (worth about €1,700). Those teachers and educational staff earning more than €65,000 would face a 5.5 per cent pay cut in late 2013.

 

Since the onset of the financial crisis 

At both primary and post-primary levels, the pupil-teacher ratio increased, which resulted in increased class sizes. Schools are also taking unprecedented steps such as reducing or dropping programme and subject options, withdrawing higher-level options, combining higher and ordinary level class groups for some subjects, combining class groups from different years in some subjects, imposing quotas on the number of students allowed to study specific subjects, reducing the duration or number of class periods, e.g. reducing the tuition time allocated to subjects, and reducing tutorial care classes. 

 

Teachers’ salaries have remained the same since December 2009 due to a national agreement; however, teachers’ salaries were reduced by approximately 14 per cent prior to the agreement. Salary scales for all new public servants, including teachers, have been reduced by 10 per cent since January 2011. All new teachers must start on the first point of the salary scale, which means their salary reduction has been about 13-14 per cent in total. No allowances (e.g. supervision, qualifications) have been paid to new beneficiaries since 1 February 2012.

 

Alliance Against Cuts in Education protest, Dublin, 4 July 2012

 

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, and the Teachers Union of Ireland have continued to negotiate with the Department of Education and Skills and Government to advocate against further erosion of teachers’ working conditions. The three teacher unions together commissioned an actuarial report on pensions to show that, under pension arrangements that took effect in 2012, teachers are paying more into their pension fund, for a longer period of time and have fewer benefits.

 

The education budget in Ireland for 2012 was reduced by 1.7 per cent in comparison to 2011. The Government further reduced the education budget by 2.7 per cent in early 2013. The crisis has most affected younger people in Ireland: youth unemployment is now over 30 per cent. 

 

 

Updates

Friday, 24 May 2013 IR-24 May 2013

The Croke Park II proposals were re-written, and are now known as the Haddington Road Agreement, but were again rejected by union officials. The ASTI and TUI still maintain that the proposals "do not go far enough" for the public servants they will affect. The Irish Government plans to take action to reduce public spending by 1 July. ASTI General Secretary Pat King said, “These include the abolition of payment for supervision and substitution work and cuts to pay. In addition, teachers are aggrieved that after pay cuts averaging 14 per cent and significant additional work and flexibility given under the Croke Park agreement, the Government is again targeting teachers and other public sector workers.”

Friday, 17 May 2013 IR-17 May 2013

Over 91 per cent of primary school teachers, as well as affiliate Irish teaching union officials, have agreed to strike action if the recently rejected Croke Park II proposals are not re-written. TUI President Gerard Craughwell said:”TUI has a range of issues to bring to the table in talks and in particular, will prioritise tackling the casualisation of the teaching and lecturing professions and restoring the pay scales of newly qualified teachers and lecturers. In addition, the (Croke Park II )proposals unfairly targeted teachers and lecturers by reducing the take home pay of our members who earn less than € 65,000. We will not allow teachers and lecturers to be singled out for such unfair targeting.”

Thursday, 04 April 2013 IR-28 March 2013

Friday, 08 February 2013 IR-8 February 2013

EI affiliates in Ireland are taking part in a day of action organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) this Saturday, 9 February. The protest will call for the €64 billion bank debt burden on Ireland to be lifted. It will take place simultaneously in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Sligo.

Monday, 16 January 2012 IR-16 January 2012

Teachers, parents and children in Dublin have been protesting on the streets against cuts in education provision announced by the government which would have serious consequences for already disadvantaged pupils and schools.

Last modified on Sunday, 07 July 2013

Further information

Facts and data

Union contact

  • Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, ASTI
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  • Irish Federation of University Teachers, IFUT
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  • Irish National Teachers' Organisation, INTO
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  • Teachers' Union of Ireland, TUI
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