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File photo Photocall Ireland

Teachers union call for State to stop funding private schools

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland backs a call to end €100m in “privilege funding” for private secondary schools.

ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S two trade unions for secondary school teachers has called on the government to withdraw its €100m in annual funding for fee-paying schools – describing it as a ‘funding of privilege’.

Delegates to the Teachers’ Union of Ireland annual conference in Tralee yesterday backed a motion calling for the withdrawal of the funding, which sees the State supplement the income earned by private, fee-paying schools.

The Irish Times quotes TUI national executive members Gerry Quinn as describing the funding as “shameful”, coming at a time when the State was being forced to cut back on education spending.

“This union respects the rights of parents or guardians to choose schools for their children but we are opposed to taxpayers paying for private schools – let the parents in private schools foot the bill – all of the bill,” he said.

The Irish Independent reports that education minister Ruairí Quinn has previously indicated his opposition to the funding, which RTÉ said does not relate to schools of minority faiths.

Quinn is expected to address the conference later today, having already addressed the conferences of the ASTI and INTO earlier this week.

Among the TUI’s other discussions were talks on the Croke Park pay deal, with the TUI declaring it would not honour the concessions made by teachers in the agreement if they were asked to accept further pay cuts.

“The TUI is only in this deal for the protection it offers. If the Government reneges on its side of the bargain, all bets are off and we will not keep our side,” the Independent quotes the union’s president Bernie Ruane told delegates.

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