Minister for Education Richard Bruton will not address delegates at this year's ASTI annual conference due to "logistical constraints".

However, Mr Bruton will attend a dinner at the convention as a guest of the union, making him the first minister for education in three years to attend the ASTI's Easter meeting.

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

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 government over Junior Cycle reform.

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

The Department of Education says geographical difficulties mean the minister will not be able to get to the convention in Killarney in time to address delegates on their first day.

The minister traditionally addresses the INTO union on the morning of the Tuesday following Easter. He or she then addresses the ASTI at around 4.30pm that same day.

This year, however, the INTO's annual congress takes place in Belfast, while the ASTI will meet 470km away in Killarney. 

The Department of Education says the distance means Mr Bruton will not reach Killarney in time to address delegates there.

It is unlikely the Minister will regret losing the opportunity to address ASTI delegates, who have become known for their stormy reception of ministers. 

The union is engaged in a bitter dispute with Government over pay and conditions for teachers, as well as Junior Cycle reform.