By Rebecca McGirr
The Irish National Teachers Organization (INTO) held its 154th Northern Conference last weekend at the Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen.
This year, the conference president was Marie O’Shea. She is the head of the Northern Committee of the National Irish Teachers’ Organization (INT0) for this year and also teaches the principal at St. John the Baptist Primary School in Roscor, Belleek.
Ms O’Shea said she had found the role of committee chair “very interesting” and explained how the role had opened many doors for her and given her many opportunities.
She said: ‘This role has allowed me to step into rooms with other wider sectors, particularly this year I have had meetings at Stormont as an INTO representative with the Minister of Education, I attended meetings with the education committee at Stormont where we described the issues facing teachers, particularly the impact of the pandemic on schools, and in October I had the opportunity to speak at the Irish Trades Union Congress conference and spoke about a motion regarding investing in education and how this should be made a priority in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald after last week’s conference where this year’s theme was ‘Education in a post-Covid world’, Ms O’Shea said,
‘There were 31 motions discussed in total and all of them will need to be implemented in one way or another, but they covered a wide range of things, certainly the recovery plan that schools will need when they enter in a post covid world is very important because we fully recognize that huge investments have been made while supporting schools during the pandemic so we were wondering how these projects and programs that have been funded during the pandemic can be sustained , in particular the Engage program which supported children and young people who were struggling during the pandemic and needed additional support.
During the conference, INTO members also voted to launch a pay campaign after the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council, the representative body for the five recognized teachers’ unions, recently rejected a salary offer from the Ministry of Education and employers, which INTO described as “insufficient and insulting”.
Gerry Murphy, INTO Northern Secretary, told the conference: “The campaign will run for six weeks before the countdown to the election, so we will start on March 30.
This will involve public meetings in six northern locations.
Ms O’Shea said: ‘We want to work over the next six weeks as we head into the election to put this on the agenda with all political parties and that they don’t play political football of education, that they listen to what is happening and move forward together.
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Posted: 1:48 p.m. March 10, 2022