I apologise for the delay as I was attending an Oireachtas justice committee meeting. I tabled this motion on foot of an e-mail I received from an independent candidate who stood in the local elections in Clare who came across this issue regarding seven teachers in Clare. Those teachers have been teaching for a number of years but find that they are neither on a panel nor a supplementary panel at this stage. It seems grossly unfair, in light of the facts available, that such a position should be allowed continue. I am not quite sure of the circumstances and why these teachers have not been accepted either to a panel or supplementary panel. There may be an issue concerning the teaching of Irish but such matters can be resolved where there is a willingness to do so.
I am sure the issue is not unique to teachers in County Clare and it is reflected in other counties as well. Nationally, there is a problem in the placing of young teachers coming out of college who are trying to advance their teaching practice, and there is an ongoing issue with teachers needing six months of consistent teaching experience in order to fulfil training requirements within the education programme and finding they cannot, through no fault of their own and having done countless interviews, find such experience. The competition for the places is at such a level that many candidates do not seem to be able to secure the six months of practice. A couple of things must happen in that regard. The educational institutions which provide teaching must consider the easing of requirements, for example.
There are seven teachers in Clare whose lives are on hold because of this issue. I understand they have contacted the Department and the office of the Minister, Deputy Quinn, who is fully aware of the circumstances. Where there is a willingness to resolve a problem to everyone's satisfaction, it can happen when there is engagement between two parties. I apologise to the Minister of State as the Adjournment matter are being heard earlier than we expected, and I was attending a committee meeting at the time.