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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 19 December, 2014

“The anger is palpable”: Teachers to hold lunchtime protests over Junior Cycle

The protests are over the introduction of the new Junior Cycle Student Award.

Image: Empty classroom via Shutterstock

TEACHERS ARE ANGRY – and could ballot to strike over the new Junior Cycle Student Award.

That’s according to Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) President, Gerard Craughwell, who spoke to TheJournal.ie in advance of today’s lunchtime protests by second- level teachers across the country.

ASTI and TUI members at 750 schools are due to take part in the protest.

There is due to be a protest outside the gate of each participating school, with rostered supervisors remaining in the school with the children who are on their lunch.

There will be no loss of class or teaching time, said unions.

Craughwell said that the purpose behind the protest today “is to get a national conversation going on where we’re going with this junior cycle”.

Anger

Craughwell said that teachers are “deeply disappointed that our level of frustration has gone to this stage”.

There’s palpable anger amongst my members at the complete failure of the Minister to listen to what we’re saying.

He said that TUI members “will not be participating in any junior cert that does not involve external assessment and certification”.

Craughwell said that since the protests were announced, “nothing has changed” in the ongoing dispute between teachers and the Department of Education and Education Minister Ruairí Quinn.

“Last Friday was our last encounter with the department. We are having ongoing meetings. All that’s happening is we are going to drift along,” said Craughwell.

The TUI president said he doesn’t believe that Irish parents “are fully up to speed on where this is going”.

The ASTI began ballotting its members earlier this week, and the TUI is due to start ballotting members this week.

The TUI are ballotting for up to and including strike action.

“We don’t want to see it go there but the minister continues to ignore what we are trying to tell him. I don’t think we should be experimenting with our children’s future,” said Craughwell.

The TUI is holding public meetings on the issue, beginning with one tonight at 7.30pm at Galway’s Radisson Blu hotel.

Read: Teachers to hold “symbolic” lunchtime protests over new Junior Cycle>

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