The Legacy of Free Post-Primary Education in Ireland
Edited by Judith Harford
10. Changing the Educational Landscape: Transforming Teacher Professionalism? (Ciaran Sugrue)
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10 Changing the Educational Landscape: Transforming Teacher Professionalism?
Radical reforms by their very nature ruffle feathers, particularly those soft, velvety, downy, comforting ones closest to the bosom of the status quo, the ‘establishment’ (Jones, 2015). Perhaps therefore, O’Connor’s observations regarding Donogh O’Malley, Minister for Education for a mere two years (1966–8), provide some insight into the persona of this post-Independence politician who went against the advice of more cautious minds and temperaments, including O’Connor himself: ‘He had a reputation as a “hell raiser”, as being impetuous, and as having concern and sympathy for the underdog’ (O’Connor, 1986, p. 139). The only straw in the wind as to what O’Malley might be like as minister was derived from a Dáil contribution some years earlier, when he expressed ‘his support for free universal education’ while otherwise senior civil servants ‘had no idea where his interests lay’ at the time of his appointment (O’Connor, 1986, p. 139).
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