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Teachers to hold a referendum on strike action
Belfast school circa 1902 Photo: Public Records Office of Northern Ireland

Teachers to hold a referendum on strike action

Dublin, 27 February 1918 - Ireland’s national school teachers are to hold a referendum on the question of a withdrawal from schools throughout the country.

The announcement of a vote follows the refusal of the Chief Secretary, Mr Duke, to fix a date for receiving a All-Ireland deputation which was proposed by the Lord Mayor of Dublin six weeks ago.

A statement from the central executive of the Irish National Teachers’ Association read:

‘The delay in making arrangements for the reception of the deputation, coupled with the feverish haste on the part of the education office to put the White Paper proposals into operation, have forced us to the conclusion that it is the deliberate intention of the Government to make the demand for the suspension of these proposals impossible of concession by taking care that they have been put into operation before the deputation is received.’

‘The wishes not only of the teachers but of the whole Irish people, regarding a question which concerns the vital interests of the country, are thus being deliberately flouted, and we cannot help expressing our surprise that though the new session of Parliament is now a fortnight old, no attempt has been made by any party to give expression in Parliament to the volume of feeling which has been created regarding the Government’s treatment of Irish education.’

Devoting an editorial on the matter today, the Irish Independent acknowledged the ‘natural surprise’ of Ireland’s teachers at the failure of Irish representatives in the House of Common to impress upon the Government the seriousness of the situation. ‘Had the Irish members done their duty in this matter the present crisis might not have arisen.’

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.