June 5, 2021
Back-up paper should have been prepared as Limerick students miss out on Leaving Cert – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said that it was entirely predictable that students would miss out on written exams because of self-isolation, and that a back-up paper should have been prepared.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

“The Limerick Leader reported last night that the Covid outbreak there will lead to several students missing out on their written exams. 

“I read this news with some frustration as I have been raising this danger for several months now, but I expect with not half as much frustration as the students themselves or their families.

“These are students who made a conscious decision to take these exams. They studied, they completed projects and sat oral exams. 

“None of that work will now count towards their Leaving Cert, through no fault of their own, as they have to self-isolate.

“This was entirely foreseeable, and there should have been a contingency plan there for them.

“I raised this months ago with the Minister, in several meetings and on the Dáil floor. 

“I urged her to provide a back-up paper. In a normal year, there are back-up papers in case the main paper is compromised, or for students who are sick or bereaved. 

“It is therefore absolutely crazy that this was not done this year, during a pandemic, when it was quite obvious that some students were going to be affected, and have to self-isolate.

“These Limerick students now look like they will be the victims of the Minister’s failure to put in place a very simple plan B; a back-up paper.

“I would urge the Minister to engage with the SEC urgently and, if at all possible, even at this late stage to provide a back-up paper.

“The Leaving Cert this year has been all about choice, and rightly so.

“Sinn Féin supported the call of students for choice and commended the Minister for backing that. 

“But choice has been robbed of these students because of the Department’s failure to prepare a contingency for a very obvious and foreseeable risk. 

“It is beyond frustrating and every effort should be made to facilitate these students.”

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