PRESS RELEASE Thursday, 19th September 2019
Five Dublin teachers named on Teachers Inspire shortlist. DCU announces 20 teachers shortlisted from over 400 entries received.
Five Dublin teachers have been named on the shortlist for the inaugural Teachers Inspire Ireland initiative.
The initiative, which is focused on highlighting the enormous contribution made by teachers in Irish society, was launched by Dublin City University (DCU) earlier this year, with the support of businessman and philanthropist Dermot Desmond.
Over May and June, DCU called for members of the public to share their personal stories of how a teacher transformed their lives and /or their community. Twenty shortlisted teachers – five from each province – have been shortlisted from over 400 entries received from every corner of Ireland. None of the teachers knew they were nominated in advance. Dublin Teachers Nominated The Dublin teachers nominated are:
- Nora Duffy, a retired teacher, who taught at St. Joseph’s Co-Educational National School on the East Wall Road in Dublin. Originally from Co. Donegal, Nora was nominated by her past pupil Caitríona Ní Cassaithe, who – inspired by Nora – went on to pursue a career in education herself.
- John O’Brien, who taught at St. Patrick’s National School on Rutland Street in inner-city Dublin (now Rutland National School). John was nominated by Paddy Reid, whom he taught in the 1960s and who describes him as “the most important role model for many of us kids from the Dublin tenements”. Of the 20 teachers shortlisted for Teachers Inspire, John O’Brien is the only one who has not (yet) been traced. His nominator Paddy was unable to find current contact details for him, but believes he retired some time ago and now lives in Spain.
- Mary Daly, recently retired from St. Dominic’s College in Ballyfermot. Mary was nominated by her former student, Niamh Smith, for her impact on individual students and the wider community. While Mary still taught at St. Dominic’s, Niamh returned to the school to work in its after-school programme and, encouraged by Mary, went on to study Community and Youth Work at Maynooth University. Niamh is now Project Leader of a youth service in Ringsend.
- Ann Moriarty, a teacher in the FET (Further Education and Training) sector, who was nominated by Phyllis Lawlor. She founded Smart Agers, a community group that helps people learn how to use smart devices. She teaches courses at the Evergreen Centre in Terenure and Tennent Hall in Rathgar. She was nominated by Phyllis Lawlor, one of her students, who is from Walkinstown. Phyllis is in her 70s and credits Ann with opening up “a whole new world of wonder” for her, after she completed courses taught by Ann on how to use smart devices.
- Seamas Cassidy, who taught at Tuam CBS and who is now living in Drumcondra, Dublin 9. A former Christian Brother, Seamas was nominated by Liam whom he taught in the 1970s and who considers him a friend to this day. During Seamas’s time as a teacher, timetables in the local convent schools were adapted so that girls could access his Honours Maths classes – an option unavailable to them in their own schools.
Societal Impact: Announcing the shortlist at DCU earlier this week, Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, said: “The entries submitted to Teachers Inspire Ireland demonstrate just how significant a role teachers play in Irish life.
“We received stories about teachers dealing in an inspirational way with major societal challenges. We received stories of teachers who have played – and continue to play – a key part in helping individuals and whole communities adapt to change.
“The nominations highlighted teachers dealing with issues such as homelessness, mental health, immigration, unplanned pregnancies, gender identity support, community regeneration, and climate change. They were submitted by schoolchildren, parents, and people whose school days are long behind them but who remember their teachers with great fondness and gratitude.
“What is abundantly clear from the nominations received is the extent to which so many teachers go above and beyond their ‘ job description’. It was extraordinarily difficult to select a shortlist of 20 from all the amazing stories we received. However, the 20 teachers being celebrated today have had truly lasting and transformative impacts on the lives of their students and on their wider communities.”
Gala Event: Entries to Teachers Inspire were reviewed by a panel chaired by former President of Ireland Mary McAleese. A Teachers Inspire Ireland gala event will take place at The Helix, DCU, on Friday, 4th October, at which four of the shortlisted teachers – one from each province – will receive the inaugural Teachers Inspire Ireland Desmond Awards.