Support for teachers
In a statement of support to secondary teachers demonstrating in Dublin on Tuesday, Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:
"The issue on the streets of Dublin today, and in classrooms around the country, is the quality of education and the future of our children. The most important element of our education infrastructure are well trained and highly motivated teachers. To maintain that standard it is essential that teachers are properly paid. There is no more important workplace than the classroom or the hospital ward. Education and health must be absolute priorities of government.
"The government must act decisively to stem the flow of talented people from the education sector and to re-establish the attractiveness of teaching as a profession. This is an investment in our children and in our future.
"I have urged the Minister for Education Michael Woods TD and his Cabinet colleagues to show flexibility and imagination in this dispute. To date such an approach has been lacking and the government has shown an inflexibility which has justifiably angered teachers.
"It would be inexcusable if the government allowed the teachers dispute to remain unresolved into the New Year and in the run-up to examinations.
"The bottom line is that the teachers deserve to be paid."
On Monday night, South Dublin County Council unanimously backed a Sinn Féin motion calling on the government to open pay negotiations with the secondary teachers "with no preconditions". The motion was tabled by Sinn Féin Councillors Seán Crowe and Mark Daly. Crowe who attended Tuesday's solidarity march by secondary teachers in Dublin - said: "Poorly paid teachers will lead to a deterioration in our education system. We do not want to go down the 'yellow pack' road of the American and English education systems with poor public and rich private schools. Without negotiations there can only be losers."