DUBLIN, 9th July 2016 (WAM): With salaries and job opportunities falling at home, dozens of Irish teachers are heading to the UAE next month to take up posts in primary and secondary schools, according to a report today in the ‘Irish Independent’ newspaper.

“A sense of adventure is the attraction for some, with others viewing the opportunity as a chance to build up savings towards a house back home – something many said they felt was nigh impossible to do on current Irish teachers’ salaries,” the report said.

It quoted 33-year old Myra Reddington, a teacher from Mayo, in western Ireland, who is headed for Dubai, as saying: “As a couple, my husband and myself have been working 11 years as teachers and in all that time we’ve barely been able to save towards our future We’re actually going to be paid a little bit less than what we’re earning here but with nothing going to the tax man and our accommodation paid for, between us we’ll be coming out almost GBP2,000 (AED8,000) ahead each month.”

Myra told the newspaper that she was earning less now in Ireland than she was seven years ago following a one-year career break in Australia.

“Here you can have two people doing the same job in a school on very different pay scales. Over there, that isn’t the case – the school I’m heading to, for example, very much goes out of its way to reward staff who perform well, offering incentives and bonuses.”

Newly qualified teacher Katie Fortune, 23, heading to Abu Dhabi with three friends less than a month after completing her Masters degree, told the newspaper that she could not wait to “get out of damp Ireland and get some sun in Abu Dhabi This is a great way of seeing a different part of the world and save money at the same time,” she said.

At a time of rising enrolments in both primary and second-level schools in Ireland, driving up demand for staff, it may seem strange that teachers are looking abroad, the newspaper reported.

“For us, this is an investment in our future,” said Ronan Murphy, 35, who is leaving Cavan to head to Abu Dhabi alongside his wife and three children. “We’re excited to take up a new challenge after 14 years teaching in Ireland. Financially it’s a sound investment, and it’s a chance for our children to experience a different culture.”

Peter Mullan of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) told the ‘Irish Independent’ that he was not surprised that Ireland would be losing teachers to the UAE in a month’s time.

“Due to the pay cuts imposed on new teachers, and the fact that, particularly at secondary level, there are a lot of people who can’t get full hours here, it’s no surprise that we’ve hundreds of teachers looking to take advantage of more attractive pay packages in other countries.”

Up to half of Irish teachers under 35 years old can only find part-time employment, working only a handful of hours every week, Mullan was quoted as saying.

Starting salaries can vary but on average many newly-qualified teachers in permanent positions in Ireland will earn less than GBP29,000 (AED116,000) annually, often with high rents and transport costs.PH