Thank you for voting for me in the election for INTO President. I believe that I have the necessary leadership skills, experience and energy for this important position. Many INTO members identified with my vision for our union and supported my candidacy at Branch AGMs in January and in the March 2017 postal ballot.
I have served the INTO at all levels School, Branch, District, Central Executive Committee and Vice-Presidency. I now feel that I am ideally placed to represent your views in the year ahead. I am too well aware of the ever-increasing demands being made of teachers and therefore I agree wholeheartedly with Barack Obama who said :
‘We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness’
I will ensure that our union fights tooth and nail on behalf of its members in forthcoming pay negotiations North and South. As President, I shall be at the forefront in the fight to restore teachers salaries and conditions to 2008 levels as a minimum by September 2018. Throughout my life as a community activist, teacher, home-school-community liaison coordinator, principal teacher and trade union representative, I have always sought to make a positive difference to the lives of those around me. I feel I am best placed to present teachers with a President they can be proud of - a President who will do everything in his power to improve the lives of his teaching colleagues and by extension those of retired colleagues.
I am convinced that our national recovery plan must be predicated on sustainable societal
development. Irish citizens must never again accept the liberal free-market model with its suicidal speculation and pursuit of economic growth for its own sake without regard to sustainability. The self-destruction of neo-liberalism has brought the Irish economy and Irish society to the brink. At a social level the country now needs to decide what level of public service provision it wants and make the commitment to fund those services from a tax base which is itself sustainable. As a member of the Central Executive Committee I am proud of the influence we had on the new programme For Government and in particular the commitments to higher investment in public services.
‘Ways must be found to protect the quality of our education and the goal of achieving access for all to education. Education is the key if we are to maintain momentum in strengthening innovation and knowledge skills….That in turn is vital to create employment’ -Former President Mary Robinson August 2009
I believe that the teacher unions must stand up and fight for investment in teachers now more than ever. Our members will not accept anything less. We must prioritise the creation of teachers’ jobs especially with total enrolment still growing so significantly. But all of the extra teachers including the thousands who have entered the profession since 2011 MUST BE PAID EQUALLY. We must redouble our efforts to restore our members’ salaries and conditions of service and we must guarantee full pension entitlements to all who spend 40 years in teaching. It also behoves us to protect the education system for future generations of pupils and teachers. In that regard the fight for the retention of rural schools has to be a key priority. In order to achieve these objectives our union leadership must galvanise the grassroots membership. We must strengthen the connection with members through better communication, increased participation and by attracting more positive press for the profession. Having elected me as your President from Easter 2017 to Easter 2018, I firmly believe that I can make you proud to be a member of INTO during and beyond the best year for teachers in a decade.
Having experienced the last fifteen years of unprecedented cultural change as principal of one of Ireland’s largest schools and having witnessed during the recession the dismantling of so much of what we achieved since 2000, I am determined to lead the charge of teachers in the battle to regain what we lost, to retain what’s good and to further develop the education system. I assure you that I shall work tirelessly to build alliances with other unions in order to secure a better Ireland, one that is sustainable, economically efficient and socially just. The challenge is significant, but not daunting. Anyone who knows me will testify that big challenges make me tick!
I am honoured to serve you as INTO President as we approach the 150th year of our organisation and thank you for placing your trust in me.
- John Boyle