Teacher TDs supported cutbacks

ALMOST one-in-five of Government TDs who voted for massive education cutbacks this week are serving or former teachers.

The coalition won Thursday’s vote on the Labour Party motion to reverse class size increases in the budget by 80 votes to 74.

Despite a 12,000-strong protest outside the Dáil on Wednesday night, 14 TDs who have worked as teachers in schools and colleges supported the measures.

Four cabinet members — Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe and his three predecessors Mary Hanafin, Noel Dempsey and Micheál Martin — have all worked in education, while Government chief whip Pat Carey is a retired primary teacher.

Mr O’Keeffe retired from his lecturing job at Cork Institute of Technology in 2005, having been paid the difference between his salary and the cost of a substitute since being elected in 1987.

Four ministers of State and five backbenchers from the Fianna Fáil and Green Party ranks were also from the teaching fraternity and voted in favour of the cuts.

Under a scheme in place since the 1970s, TDs and Senators can keep their jobs as teachers open for as long as they serve in the Oireachtas, and move up the salary scale even without service in school in that time. They are entitled to be paid the difference between their own salary and the cost of employing a substitute, though some members forego this entitlement.

The teachers who voted for education cutbacks:

* Noel Dempsey, FF Transport Minister, second level teacher.

* Mary Hanafin, FF, Social and Family Affairs Minister, secondary teacher.

* Micheál Martin, FF, Foreign Affairs Minister, secondary teacher.

* Batt O’Keeffe, FF, Education Minister, receives pension as retired Cork Institute of Technology lecturer.

* Pat Carey, FF, Government Chief Whip, retired primary teacher.

* Máire Hoctor, FF, Minister of State, secondary teacher.

* Tony Killeen, FF, Minister of State, primary principal.

* Michael Kitt, FF, Minister of State, receives pension as retired primary teacher.

* Trevor Sargent, Green Party, Minister of State, retired primary principal.

* Áine Brady, FF, primary teacher.

* Margaret Conlon, FF, secondary deputy principal.

* Ciarán Cuffe, Green Party, Dublin Institute of Technology lecturer.

* Frank Fahey, FF, second level teacher.

* Tom Kitt, FF, retired primary teacher.

Independent TD Finian McGrath, who opposed to the cutbacks and withdrew his support from the Government last month, retired as a primary school principal last year and ex-Fianna Fáil TD Joe Behan is on leave from his job as a primary school principal.

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