Unionism, whatever relevance it has these days, if any, had a darkly sinister role when I was at secondary school in the late 70s and early 80s. We had one teacher, a dirty, crude, uncouth, uncivilised pig, at school in Mayo who had a perverted need to beat kids for no reason other than that he could, again and again. Of course he knew it was wrong and everyone else did who turned a blind eye to his fetish. He wasn’t the only one and no, he wasn’t a priest but one of those ordinary type we call a person, a colleague, a neighbour, a husband, a father, a brother and a son. There are many such people but this guy was different; very. He came to school in a tractor, smoked in class and picked his nose at the same time. One thing he did not do however was…teach!
One day he smashed a child’s nose. Luckily for this student his parents weren’t going to take this assault for no reason – or any reason – and the lad’s dad, a sergeant in a neighbouring town, took a case. The pig, according to one of his colleagues, paid out about 10 grand back then (late 70s) – say 50 grand in today’s money. But the shocking sequel to this horror story isn’t that he was allowed to continue in his employment (I nearly said “work”!), but rather, as his own colleague said to me, “And what did ASTI do? Made him president.” That’s what unions think of kids. Of course, being well connected with Fianna Fail worked in his favour.
Feb. 2016. As if this wasn’t bad enough, a retired teacher has informed me that on two occasions, ASTI actually paid his fine when he was prosecuted in the civil courts – which gives a different slant to ASTI’s slogan: “a century of service.”