INTO Presidential Election: Interviews

For the first time in many years, the INTO will be having an election for its next president. John Boyle, the current vice-president of the INTO is running against Gregor Kerr, a well-known INTO activist and Teaching Council committee member. Both candidates are running their campaigns over the coming month and both agreed to be given the interview treatment, by answering some tricky questions. Both candidates were extremely kind with their time and answered all the questions without fudging on any of the issues. We’ll be publishing their responses over the coming days ahead. Both candidates were asked the same questions so to kick us off, we asked them why did they want to be the next president of the INTO?

[Due to time constraints with attempting to manage the comments, I’ve decided to switch off the comments on the blog as it takes ages to do. I appreciate the time people have taken to add their support to their preferred candidate but I simply can’t manage it and juggle the other bits of my evenings.]

John Boyle

The main reason I got involved in INTO was to help teachers. I never set out to become a Branch or District officer, or to be a District Representative, never mind being Vice-President or President. There was always work to be done, so I simply volunteered to do it. Eventually, having been elected to serve members in District 8 for twelve successive years and having reached my 50th birthday, I felt that it was time to pass the baton. Many of my colleagues in our district then encouraged me to seek the position of Vice-President because they were convinced that I would do justice to the role.

This time last year, I was the unanimous choice of INTO branches for the position of Vice-President. Since then I have done the apprenticeship for Presidency, and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

In the last twelve months INTO has made lots of progress, but as always there’s much more to be done.

We delivered:

  • 1000 extra teaching jobs,
  • Re-instatement of 1200 promotional posts,
  • A 20 million euro package of pay restoration for new entrant teachers
  • Introduction of early retirement scheme in the North
  • And of course the bringing forward to next month of 1000 euro restoration for all teachers in the South.

I now want to be INTO President, because I want to dedicate a full year of my life to advancing the cause of my fellow INTO members North and South. Having spent over thirty years volunteering within INTO, advocating and caring for fellow teachers and contributing to the improvement and development of our union, I believe that my passion for INTO, my crusade for higher investment in the education system and my experience as a negotiator can really benefit all of our members in the next twelve months.

I’m satisfied that my work to date has made a real difference to the lives of fellow teachers. If elected INTO President, I will be determined to add to our union’s record of accomplishment for members by improving salaries, lightening the workload burden and by raising teacher morale.

Gregor Kerr

I have always believed that We Are the Union, that the union belongs to the membership and that we should be able to use the union structures to organise together on the issues that affect us – both in terms of our own wages and conditions and in relation to the funding and resourcing of the education system.

I believe that in recent years a gap has developed between the CEC and the membership e.g. the CEC voted in favour of Work Placement Programme, JobBridge, CEPP (Career Entry Professional Programme) & Droichead while the membership have been totally against those initiatives.   Recent pay deals have been aggressively sold to us, genuine fears expressed by members have been dismissed, only one side of the debate has been given and no space has been afforded for real debate and discussion.   All of this has led to a membership much of which feels disillusioned and disenfranchised.  Participation and engagement by members is probably at an all-time low.

I stood in this election to stimulate a debate about the union and its structures, and about the manner in which members do or don’t feel part of the union.  As President I would aim to give the members back their voice, help them to realise that We are indeed the union and to engage members in a real way through discussion and campaigns.

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