New measures are to be introduced to cut down on the number of teachers working in schools on a temporary or part-time basis.

From next September teachers will qualify for permanency status after two years of continuous employment - until now, that took three years.

The grounds for measuring continuous employment are also being widened.

Teacher trade unions have warmly welcomed the news.

Up to one third of all teachers are currently in casual employment, including half of all teachers under-35.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland said the changes announced today would go a long way towards dealing with the problem.

The ASTI said it would give more teachers job security and ensure that the profession remained attractive to graduates of a high calibre.

The measures were recommended by a report published today which was commissioned as part of the Haddington Road Agreement.

Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan said she looked forward to implementing its findings.