Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland

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Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland logo.gif
Full nameAssociation of Secondary Teachers, Ireland
Native nameCumann na Meánmhúinteoirí, Éire
Founded17 March 1909; 110 years ago (1909-03-17) in County Cork, Ireland
Members17,500 (2016)
Office locationDublin, Ireland

The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) is a trade union for secondary school teachers in Ireland.[2] It is a member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. The union represents 18,000 teachers schools throughout Ireland attended by 80% of all second-level students.[3]


The ASTI represents teachers on educational issues and working conditions. The objects and aims of the ASTI are:[3]

  • to promote second-level education
  • to unite and organise all second-level teachers
  • to promote and protect teachers' interests
  • to maintain and improve teachers' conditions of employment

The ASTI acts as a professional advocate for second level teachers, offers legal protection to its members, campaigns for improved working conditions and ensures continuing professional development for teachers providing research facility for teachers where necessary. The association will also provide a team of experienced industrial relations negotiators to assist teachers facing difficulties at school. The ASTI set up a Credit Union in 1984.


The ASTI began life on Saint Patrick's Day, 1909, in Cork, Ireland, at a meeting called by teachers of St. Colman's College, Fermoy. There had been an Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) since 1868 and they had been successful in gaining better working conditions and pay for their members. At the time conditions for secondary teachers were very poor with men earning about £80 a year and women a little over half that. One of the aims of the association was to raise the status of teachers in the community.[4]

The main force behind the formation of the union was Patrick Kennedy, born in Cloughjordan, an inspirational teacher in St Colman's. Founding members included such national figures as Easter Rising leader Thomas MacDonagh, whose godfather was Kennedy's father and who was a close friend; and the future Taoiseach and President of Ireland Éamon de Valera.

In 1911 the decision was taken to establish a women's section within the ASTI, which was named the Women Teachers' Association (WTA). The role and social acceptance of women teachers changed dramatically from a place where women secondary teachers had to retire on marriage to a place where women became president of the union.

The history of the union is documented in the book Unlikely Radicals.[5] The organisation struggled with the development of education, the role of the church and the changes in state which occurred while trying to reach out to educate as much of the population as possible.

General Secretary[edit]

The General Secretary represents the interests of the members of the union on topics such as their salary, conditions of employment and education at a national and international level. The General Secretary manages the daily business of the ASTI and ensures that ASTI policy is appropriately carried out. This post is not elected annually but rather is appointed as a full-time position.

Kieran Mulvey was the General secretary of the ASTI from 1983 until he was replaced by Charlie Lennon in 1991.[6] On Lennon's retirement in 2004 John White became acting General Secretary of the ASTI and was appointed in 2005.[7] Pat King replaced White in September 2010. Kieran Christie is currently the General Secretary of the ASTI as of 1 January 2016[8]

Year General Secretary[9]
1909 – 1911 P.F. Condon
1912 G. Dempsey
1913 Mr. Gallagher
1914 Mr. Mellett
1916 W.J. Williams
1917 A. McHugh
1920 – 1937 T.J. Burke
Sep 1937 – Jan 1938 J. Carey (Acting)
Jan 1938 – May 1938 W. Glynn (Temporary)
1938 – 1957 Florence Quirke
Aug 1957 – May 1958 D. Buckley and C. O’Gara (Joint Honorary Secretaries)
1958 – 1983 Máire MacDonagh
1983 – 1991 Kieran Mulvey
1991 – 2004 Charlie Lennon
2004 – 2010 John White
2010 – 2015 Pat King
2016 – present Kieran Christie


The president of the union is elected at the annual convention and takes office on 1 August of that year. Unlike the General Secretary the President is always a teacher and takes a leave of absence from their teaching role for the duration of their term.[10]

Year President Year President Year President Year President
1909 W. S. Cooney 1910 P. J. Kennedy 1911 P. J. Kennedy 1912 W. Johnston
1913 G. A. Watson 1914 G. A. Watson 1915 G. A. Watson 1916 G. A. Watson
1917 W. J. Williams 1918 G. A. Watson 1919 T. J. Burke 1920 L. Murray
1921 B. Gillespie 1922 B. Gillespie 1923 M. Kinsella/A. Ruttledge 1924 J. H. Kane
1925 T. P. Waller 1926 A. J. Mulligan 1927 J. J. Murphy 1928 G. P. Duggan
1929 J. H. Kane 1930 T. O’Beirne 1931 T. O’Beirne 1932 T. O’Donoghue
1933 C. L. Dillon 1934 G. P. Daly 1935 J. H. Kane 1936 J. H. Kane
1937 F. Kennedy 1938 T. P. Waller 1939 T. P. Waller 1940 T. J. Boylan
1941 T. J. Boylan 1942 T. O’Donoghue 1943 C. L. Dillon 1944 C. L. Dillon
1945 T. Walsh 1946 D. Buckley 1947 O. P. Ward 1948 O. P. Ward
1949 W.G. Kirkpatrick 1950 S. Ó Mathúna 1951 D. Ó Conalláin 1952 T. C. Coppinger
1953 W. Meyler 1954 P. J. O’Reilly 1955 G. Ó Maoilmhichil 1956 P. J. Hardiman
1957 L. Comerford 1958 N. Kelleher 1959 C. L. Dillon, J. Wilson 1960 T. Murphy
1961 P. S. Gillman 1962 G. Lyons 1963 D. Ó Mhurchú 1964 P. Finnegan
1965 D. Buckley 1966 J. A. Brommell 1967 J. A. Brommell 1968 H. Duffy
1969 M. Sheedy 1970 T. O’Dea 1971 P. Ó Riordáin 1972 K. Meehan
1973 P. Purcell 1974 L. Hogan 1975 J. A. "Alfie" Sheehy 1976 M. MacCormack
1977 D. Nolan 1978 D. Nolan 1979 M. MacCarthy 1980 D. Barry
1981 T. Boland 1982 M. Walsh 1983 R. Kennedy 1984 H. Collins
1985 L. O’Flaherty 1986 J. White 1987 D. Quish 1988 K. O’Sullivan
1989 E. O’Allmhurain 1990 J. Costello 1991 W. Ruane 1992 J. Whyte
1993 M. Dowling Maher 1994 S. Higgins 1995 T. Francis 1996 J. Mulcahy
1997 J. Hurley 1998 M. Corely 1999 B. O’Sullivan 2000 D. McCluskey
2001 C. Fitzpatrick 2002 P. J. Sheehy 2003 P. Cahill 2004 S. Hall
2005 S. Parsons 2006 M. Freeley 2007 P. Wroe 2008 P. Hurley
2009 J. Moran 2010 J. Keane 2011 B. Broderick 2012 G. Breslin
2013 S. Maguire 2014 P. Irwin 2015 M. G. Ní Chiarba 2016 E. Byrne
2017 G. Curtin 2018 B. Lynch

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ETUCE". Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  2. ^ About ASTI
  3. ^ a b "Objectives". Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  4. ^ Cunningham, John (2009). Unlikely Radicals, Irish Post-Primary Teachers and the ASTI 1909-2009. Cork University Press. ISBN 185918460X.
  5. ^ McCabe, Conor. "Review of Unlikely Radicals". Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  6. ^ "K. Mulvey bio" (PDF). NUI. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  7. ^ "General Secretary 2005". Irish Times. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  8. ^ "New General Secretary". Irish Times. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  9. ^ Coolahan, John (1984). The ASTI and Post-Primary Education in Ireland, 1909 – 1984. Dublin: Elo Press Ltd. p. 397.
  10. ^ 100 year newsletter