Recent communication from the Department of Education suggests if schools use retired teachers to cover for absent staff, they will suffer a financial penalty.
Seemingly, there is an abundance (7,000) of unemployed, newly-qualified teachers unable to find a placement and these are to be given precedence when a day's work is available.
Why is no one asking why, given that fact and that there is a large spare capacity in the school system (50,000 empty desks in 2006), that schools of education are still recruiting and qualifying hundreds of young people for non-existent positions?
Furthermore, teachers who have given 30 years' and more service, have been stopped from taking early voluntary retirement, which usually saved the jobs of some 300 young teachers every year.
Now we also have the cutbacks,, which will cost up to 4,500 teachers their jobs in the next few years. And guess what? Still no moritorium on recruiting young people to study as teachers.
I dare say someone will see this as discrimination of elderly folk; perhaps Caitriona Ruane is confident it gives an equitable outcome.
PATRICK J DORRIAN