Harris needs to attend Dáil and Seanad urgently after Leaving Cert debacle

Senator Annie Hoey image
30 September 2020

The Higher Education Minister Simon Harris needs to attend the Dáil and Seanad urgently to answer questions in relation to the Leaving Cert calculated grading errors according to Labour Higher Education Spokesperson, Senator Annie Hoey.

Senator Hoey said:

“My thoughts are with the many thousands of students affected by this and those sitting at home wondering what might have been in relation to their CAO results. Minister Harris needs to clear his schedule and attend the Dáil and Seanad urgently to answer questions in relation to this. In fact, I would seriously question why Minister Harris was not present at the press briefing by his Cabinet colleague Minister Foley this afternoon given the number of unanswered questions in relation to how this error will affect higher education.

“This year’s Leaving Cert students have been through enough already and have experienced awful confusion and lack of clarity since last March. In her press briefing Minister Foley made a bold commitment that all students who should have been made a higher preference offer will receive one yet we need to hear from Minister Harris how many additional places will be required to accommodate them.

“The Minister also needs to clarify whether he will make a commitment that for those students who should have been offered a higher place on a competitive course such as medicine, nursing or primary school teaching that a place will be held for them next year if they are unable to enter the course this year.

“We also need to know what these students ought to do in the interim: continue with the course they may have been offered and then runs losing out on SUSI and fees, withdraw from that course now and just wait around for the year, or continue with studying for a year with the promise that they will face no financial penalty for doing so. The Minister also needs to answer when this was first communicated to the IUA, THEA, USI, ISSU and other representative bodies.

“This is devastating news for the 2020 Leaving Certificate group, and they need clarity now from Minister Harris as to what the next steps are in relation to the CAO and course offers. He must attend the Dáil and Seanad as a matter of urgency to address these questions.

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