It has been revealed 560 retired teachers were employed during the 2014-2015 school year for cover work.
According to figures obtained by the Sunday Independent, that number is up on the previous year, despite instructions from the Department of Education to prioritise newly qualified teachers.
Deputy General Secretary of the ASTI Diarmuid De Paor has said sometimes it is unavoidable to call on retired teachers, but schools should give priority to graduates: “There are many many newly qualified teachers in the country, many of them are unemployed, many of them are on very short hours in schools.
“So they should absolutely be given the priority.
“While it is unavoidable sometimes to hire a retired teacher, that should be absolutely the exception and the priority should be given to these newly qualified teachers setting out on their career, to give them some hours and some experience.”