Teagasc consider temporary teachers to meet Ballyhaise Green Cert demand

Teagasc is to consider taking on temporary teaching staff to meet the excess demand for Green Cert places at Ballyhaise College.

The Minister for Agriculture made the comments on Teagasc's this short term remedy for the agricultural college in response to a parliamentary question on the issue from Deputy Niamh Smyth. The Cavan Monaghan TD was prompted to raise the matter after hearing accounts of students who are unable to take up Green Cert courses.

“It is my understanding that demand is currently not being met," said Deputy Smyth. "Students in this constituency were told that they had secured a place on the Green Cert course in Ballyhaise, only to discover that, due to staff shortages, their placement cannot commence."

Minister Charlie McConalogue replied: "My Department is working closely with Teagasc to ensure that there is sufficient teachers available to meet demand.

"In that regard, Teagasc has agreed to bring forward a proposal to hire additional temporary teachers for consideration by my Department in conjunction with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. This model has proved very effective in the past in dramatically increasing the number of places within a relatively short timeframe."

However the minister concluded his statement on the matter by emphasising that the scheduling of courses and assignment of teaching posts to particular locations "is an operational matter for Teagasc".

His Fianna Fáil colleague Deputy Smyth said the benefits of having the Green Cert cannot be overstated.

"On completion, students meet the requirements of a qualified farmer for the purposes of Revenue and Department of Agriculture schemes. Every effort must be made to resolve this issue immediately.”