The Minister for Education has been invited to address members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland at the union's annual convention at Easter, for the first time in three years.

However, Richard Bruton faces logistical difficulties in doing so, because of the geographical spread of this year's three teachers' union conferences.

Last year a government had yet to be formed by the time of the annual teacher conferences and so no minister was in place to attend any of them.

In 2015 the ASTI declined to invite the then minister for education, Jan O'Sullivan.

The union was at the time in dispute with the then government over Junior Cycle reform.

The previous year saw Ms O'Sullivan's predecessor, Ruairí Quinn, heckled by ASTI delegates as he attempted to address them.

The ASTI continues to be in dispute with Government over the Junior Cycle, and over pay and conditions for teachers, and tensions between the union leadership and the Department of Education have been expressed publicly.

The union wrote to Mr Bruton a number of weeks ago inviting him to address delegates on the first day of its convention.

The minister traditionally addresses the Irish National Teachers' Organisation on the morning of the Tuesday following Easter.

He then addresses the ASTI at around 4.30pm the same day.

The department is concerned about the logistics of addressing both unions this year.

The INTO's annual congress takes place in Belfast, while the ASTI will meet 470km away in Killarney, Co Kerry.