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An olive branch - Teachers’ strike

THE teachers’ strike that closed the majority of the country’s secondary schools yesterday is pretty divisive. That the action was undertaken by less than 10% of the State’s employees suggestions it may be anti-democratic too.

Nevertheless, it must be resolved as quickly as is possible and without provoking tit-for-tat claims all across the public service. Ed Byrne, the president of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland, made a welcome suggestion yesterday when he said teachers thought schools were unprepared to deal with the planned withdrawal by its members from supervision or substitution duties from Monday week. Mr Byrne offered that “maybe we would step in for a short time if we can get some quid pro quo”.

This small olive branch may not be enough to end the deadlock and restore something recognisable as normality in our schools but it is, nevertheless, a worthwhile gesture that requires a response.

It may even be the catalyst needed to help resolve this impasse — something we all want.