Return to Correspondence menu

Correspondence: Vote Finbar Geaney for president of TUI

18 May 2010

Turn the Tide

The election for President of the TUI is currently underway. I am asking for your support and that of your colleagues. This election presents each member of the union with a clear choice. 

This is not a mere contest between two individuals. Rather, the election provides members of the TUI with an opportunity to reflect on the lessons of the past eighteen months and to decide on the type of leadership that will be required in the period ahead. 

It is important that every member casts his or her ballot. The TUI belongs to its members; the members must reclaim it. Elections are vitally important events in the life of a trade union, and the current election for President has had a positive effect throughout the organisation. Members have an opportunity to consider the recent history of the TUI and the different policies of the two candidates. 

The leadership of the TUI are its elected officers and Executive Committee. The paid officials work under the direction of that leadership, not the other way around. 

It is up to the individual members of the union to decide the outcome of the election. During my time going around the country I have found tremendous support within schools, colleges and Branches for the ideas on which I am standing. 

There has been some reference in the election campaign to numbers of Branch nominations. I entered the election campaign in January, by which time most Branch nominations had already been formally made. Many of these Branch nominations were secured as correspondence items during Branch meetings at a time when there was only one candidate in the field. I was not at these meetings so there was no debate. 
I became a candidate in January. I decided to stand because of the totally inadequate response provided not just by the officers of the TUI but by the entire leadership of the Public Services Committee of the ICTU to the devastating attacks on the Public Service by the Government. Last December TUI negotiators returned to the union with a programme of cuts that were agreed in talks. This was after the Government had already imposed two pay-cuts on all Public Service workers and a moratorium on the filling of posts. 

Their document would have further reduced the number of teaching and lecturing jobs, further worsened conditions of service and in addition opened the way for discussions on new contracts that would have nullified decades of achievements by earlier generations of trade unionists. They even proposed to the Government a mechanism whereby our pay could be cut by up to eight per cent. The TUI leadership did not reject this document. They just went back after Christmas for more talks with the Government on that same document that eventually became the Croke Park ‘deal’. In the meantime the Government had imposed another five per cent pay cut. Their eleventh hour conversion to the ‘no’ side is to be welcomed but their failure to provide leadership is what brought the TUI to this present cul-de-sac. My Branch, Dublin City Post Primary, nominated me to stand as a candidate for President because we wanted to turn the tide. 

The leaders of the TUI were told at our Annual Congress in 2009 not to go down the path that inevitably led to the Croke Park ‘deal’. They defied that decision and so enabled the Government to bring in swinging cuts. At our TUI Easter Congress this year members rejected the proposals that were brought back to the Executive by TUI negotiators in March. 

This election for President is a step towards the members of the TUI taking control of our own union. No longer must discussions be held or decisions made about our vital interests without the members being involved at every stage. 

Members of the TUI now have a clear choice. The election for President of the TUI is not about two personalities but is rather about the future of the union. It represents a choice between the weak and failed leadership of the past or a new, confident and dynamic leadership that will stand up to the Government and the media. That is why I am asking for your vote. 

I have had many years experience at National Executive and Branch level within the TUI as well as in the broader trade union movement. I have also had extensive involvement in policy development within the education and training system. 


Please circulate this document to all TUI members

Additional information can be found at 

I can be contacted at and 085 210 4644 



Return to top of page