The establishment of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation in 1868 marked the gradual but inexorable rise in the role of the primary teacher in Ireland and the raising of the status of the teacher in society. While many changes in the conditions of service of those paid from the public purse occurred initially in the civil service, the INTO ensured that teachers also gained improvements in these areas. It used the political process and developed a sophisticated template for organising campaigns to get concessions for its members and to achieve improvements in the field of education. This latter development is of particular significance as it helped to lay the groundwork for present-day industrial relations. The effectiveness of INTO campaigns can be attributed to the way the association is organised and the involvement of members in every aspect of policy development and industrial action.
This book presents an historical account of the many 'false dawns' and victories experienced by primary teachers and their representative organisation in their efforts to improve the system of education and their financial standing. It will appeal not only to the INTO member but also to the general reader with an interest in the development of a professional from a position of relative weakness to one of well-established and revered standing. It makes a powerful case for the importance of professional organisations in improving and maintaining the social and political standing of their members.