A study has found that nearly half of teachers who retire on health grounds say they're suffering from psychological problems caused by pressure at work.
The report by the Civil Service Occupational Health Department revealed that 46 per cent of teachers cited mental disorders, depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue as the most common forms of stress.
Sheila Noonan of the Irish National Teachers Organisation said contrary to popular belief, teachers have very stressful jobs.
"I think this survey explodes the myth of the wonderful working conditions of teachers, and it is interesting that the highest number of teachers that are going out under disability schemes, the biggest cause is the stress factor."
She said the findings were not surprising. "There's been a whole raft of changes in schools and in classrooms and it is a very challenging environment for teachers that have to work without any employee assistance schemes."
Ms Noonan also pointed to the size of classes here as a contributing factor.