Happy Days

Joan Burton went back to school today and got one hell of a reception

She faced some tough questions too.

JOAN BURTON SHRUGGED aside some potentially worrying poll news today and got probably the best reception yet of this election campaign.

Okay, so it might have helped her that the students of Luttrellstown Community College had a break from classes. But during the heat of an election campaign you’ll take what you can get.

The secondary school is in the heart of the Tánaiste’s Dublin West constituency and was founded less than three years ago, so it’s a prime spot for some campaigning.

Not that Burton got it all her own way.

After the madness of the lunchtime rush, Burton was ushered into a smaller room where she was met by 15 students ready to grill her on their home turf.

Facing Mary Lou McDonald might make the Tánaiste feel like she can handle anyone. But after Zimbabwean-born Phillip tackled her on the issue of foreign-born students being at a disadvantage, the Tánaiste knew it was no cake walk.

Phillip explained that, although these students may have no problem in understanding mathematical concepts, they have to work harder in maths class because their English might not be on par with their peers.

Answering at length to each of the students, Burton drew on her experience as a third-level lecturer and answered questions about coding, special needs assistance and the new Junior Cert cycle.

Concern was raised by one of the students that a new Leaving Cert curriculum might not be put in place in time for the students who are the guinea pigs for new Junior Cert.

Away from education, the Tánaiste was also challenged about crime with one student telling her that her father is in the gardaí and is acutely aware of a lack of resources.

Earlier in the morning, Burton visited a nearby social housing development that has already seen its first residents move in.

Olga Kelly and her four children moved into their new four-bedroomed home in November. Today she was joined in her kitchen by the Tánaiste and probably a few too many journalists.

Burton said that the 44 new homes in the estate are an example of her party’s plans for housing over the next five years.

Labour are committing to 110,000 new homes and apartments by the end of 2021 for families seeking social housing.

The party also wants to bring in a scheme that would see new homeowners get repaid up to €6,000 when they purchase a home after saving.

11/2/2016 Tanaiste and Labour Party Leader Joan Bu Two-year-old daughter Emelia wondering what all the fuss was about in her home this morning. Mark Stedman Mark Stedman

Read: Fianna Fáil wants to create jobs that pay for bills, mortgages… and a night out >

Read: Michael Healy-Rae’s brother is running for election with him >

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