Emer O’Kelly Rebuttal

The following was written by Mairéad De Búrca in reply to Emer O’Kelly’s article in the Irish Independent. 

I’d like to thank Mairéad for giving me permission to publish her letter here.

John.


 

I am pleased that the Sindo published my response to Emer O’ Kelly’s unwarranted attack on teachers. However, my letter was edited to remove many criticisms of EOK’s article. I will copy the published letter and then my original letter to show you what I mean. To get the full picture, you should read her article first http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/ruairi-quinn-should-teach-these-wolves-a-lesson-30221231.html

My letter is a point by point rebuttal of her piece.

Published Letter –

MINISTER HAS DONE NOTHING BUT CUT

Madam – Well done to Emer O’Kelly and the Sunday Independent for once again writing hateful bile about teachers. (Sunday Independent, April 27, 2014).

Teachers most certainly do not earn €60k on average per year. The ministers she praises earn multiples of a teacher’s salary and get tax-free expenses and perks. Why not attack them? Teachers pay into their pensions every week for 40 years. Teachers do not have jobs for life. Teachers can be, and are, dismissed. Thousands of teachers have no jobs at all.

The minister is destroying our education system. Teachers try to point this out when they can. Teachers have a duty to point this out. Journalists have this duty too. Minister Quinn is about as far away from being a socialist or a trade unionist as Emer O’Kelly is. He attended private schools. He sent his children to private schools.

He most certainly is not the best Minister for Education, since anybody! He has actually done nothing during his tenure except cut, cut, cut, speak to the media, cut, cut, cut, spin, spin, spin. He is arguably the worst Minister for Education I have ever encountered. He has failed utterly in his oft-stated intention to wrest the control of education away from religious denominations. It is disconcerting that Ms O’Kelly views this complete failure of his as a success.

This minister has not only failed the education system, he has failed Ireland’s children. Of course teachers must call him on that, especially if journalists like Emer O’Kelly fail to do so. I stopped buying the Sindo years ago due to the astounding amount of teacher-bashing in it.

Dr Mairead De Burca,

The full text of my Letter:

Madam,

Well done to Emer O’ Kelly and the Sindo for keeping up your long tradition of poor journalism. Emer, you get 10/10 for writing hateful bile about teachers once again. 10/10 also for not bothering with actual facts. 0/10 however, for accuracy, objectivity, research and journalism, so that’s a FAIL, Emer. Here is a critique of your latest “work”, point by point:

1. Teachers most certainly do not earn 60K on average per year. The Ministers you praise in your article, however, earn multiples of a teacher’s salary and get un-vouched, tax free expenses and perks also. Why don’t you attack them?

2. Teachers pay into their pensions every week for forty years. Ruairi does not. What do you say to him?

3. Teachers do not have jobs for life. Teachers can and are dismissed. Thousands of teachers have no jobs at all.

4. On what basis do you describe the ASTI as the “cream level” of teachers?

5. The Minister in charge of Education is destroying our education system. Teachers try to point this out when they can. Teachers have a duty to point this out. Journalists have this duty too.

6. Minister Quinn is about as far away from being a socialist or a trade unionist as you are, Emer. He attended private schools. He sent his children to private schools. He earns an enormous salary. People call him a champagne socialist. I call him a capitalist.

7. Dignity and grace are not words I would use about Minister Quinn. He spins statistics without grace or dignity to make himself look good. He cuts educational supports to our children without grace or dignity.

8. He most certainly is not the best Minister for Education, since anybody! He has actually done nothing during his tenure except cut, cut, cut, speak to the media, cut, cut, cut, spin, spin, spin….. He is arguably the worst Minister for Education I have ever encountered.

9. I have never heard Minister Quinn tell the truth, as you claim. He spins statistics and reads speeches prepared for him by his many, very well-paid advisors.

10. It is the Minister who continuously self-congratulates himself. He thinks he’s doing a great job, and tells teachers this all the time.

11. He veers between saying our teachers are the best in the world to saying they are not. Make your mind up, Minister.

12. He has failed utterly in his oft-stated intention to wrest the control of education away from Religious denominations. It is disconcerting that you view this complete failure of his as a success, Emer.

13. This Minister has not only failed the education system, he has failed Ireland’s children. Of course teachers must call him on that, especially if journalists like you fail to do so, Emer.

14. As regards the Honours Maths and anti-women gaffs which this man “mis-spoke” in front of INTO members… Emer, please stop trying to defend the indefensible. He, himself, knows he made a mistake saying what he said. The whole country knows it, except you.

15. Andrew Phelan of ASTI has explained his actions very thoroughly on his FB page. Why didn’t you read what he had to say while you researched your own piece, Emer? O that’s right, sorry, I forgot that you don’t “do” research.

16. The new Junior Cycle is under-funded, under-resourced and unplanned. You think that’s good, do you, Emer? Teachers do not. Parents do not.

17. Teachers are the greatest advocates for children and young adults in this country, Emer. You are not. Minister Quinn is not. You could use your position as a journalist to help teachers to advocate for children, Emer.

18. You advise Minister Quinn to emulate Minister Shatter? Really? Do you really believe that anyone should emulate Minister Shatter given the scandals in his Department?

Emer, the least you could do would be to check out a few facts, do a bit of work, before you sit down to your keyboard. I stopped buying the Sindo years ago due to the astounding amount of teacher-bashing in it.

If we have learned anything last week, and again today in the Sindo, it is that some newspapers attract entirely the wrong kind of people into “journalism”.

Yours Etc…

Dr. Mairéad De Búrca.

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