Thursday, 12 May 2022
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Martin Conway (Fine Gael)
Speaking of our new Ukrainian friends, the Cabinet subcommittee will be meeting today to review where we are at. We now have 29,000 Ukrainians living in Ireland. Many of these are children who are going to school and who have little English. There is also a quite a number of Ukrainians who were teachers in Ukraine. They have good English and are working in schools doing translation. Yet, it has come to my attention over the past few days that, so far, they have not been paid. The convoluted process to recognise their qualifications through the Teaching Council is causing them a huge amount of distress. Some of them are in a situation where they cannot get certain documentation from Ukraine for reasons that are clearly obvious. Yet, the Teaching Council is not showing any flexibility. The paperwork is complicated and convoluted. These people are in the schools and are providing support for the school community. Vitally, they are acting as a communication link between the children and the teachers. When will the Teaching Council cop itself on, reduce the red tape and resolve this problem? Will these teachers get their back payment to the day that they started teaching? They could easily go off and get jobs and cafes or in the hospitality industry, which badly needs them, but their top priority is to do what they are trained to do, that is, teaching and ensuring that the children who have come here from Ukraine get every possible opportunity to learn and to be happy. When you have hundreds of Ukrainian people, mostly women, in our schools who providing supports for nothing, because they are not getting paid, that is not acceptable. I would appreciate a debate on this, or at least a query to the Minister's office about whether they will get their backdated payments and when the Teaching Council will cop itself on.