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Taoiseach told Varadkar and Ryan about Leaving Cert error six days after it was discovered

Education Miniser Norma Foley said that about 7,200 Leaving Cert grades have been affected by the errors in the Leaving Cert calculated grades system.

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan were only informed about the Leaving Certificate error on Monday night, despite the Taoiseach being made aware last Wednesday evening.

Education Minister Norma Foley said that about 7,200 Leaving Cert grades have been affected by the errors in the Leaving Cert calculated grades system.

Foley was speaking at a briefing this evening after it was revealed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin earlier today that two errors were identified in the system, one identified by private company Polymetrica and the second by Department of Education officials.

Speaking this evening, Foley said some students received a higher grade than they should have while some students received a lower grade.

The minister said that those who received a higher grade “will not be affected in any way” and that those who were marked down “will have their proper grade restored”.

Foley said: “On Wednesday last, the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills told me that a mistake had been spotted by the Canadian company, developing the statistical software for our students data.”

She later clarified the company, Polymetrika International, discovered the error on Tuesday.  

The minister said the secretary general of her department then notified the secretary general in the Department of An Taoiseach, and she spoke to the Taoiseach on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. 

Foley said the Taoiseach was “as surprised as I was”, but she reassured him everything was being done to rectify the situation, she said.

Despite being made aware of the errors last week, Varadkar and Ryan were only informed on Monday night about the full extent of the error detected during one of their usual meetings in Government Buildings.

However, it is understood that not all the details were available as to the extent of the problem. 

It is believed there are no tensions between the leaders in relation to the delay in being told. 

“Priority has to get to the bottom of the problem quickly, to make sure that the students who are getting on upgrade get that information and that they get the course they now have the points for.  That should be possible in the vast majority of cases,” said a senior government source.

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Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on education, Donnacha O’Laoghaire told TheJournal.ie that he does not think it is “credible or right that the Taoiseach sat on this so long, that he kept his coalition partners in the dark for six days, or most of all the Leaving Cert students of 2020 in the dark”.

“It smacks of a lack of transparency, which has unfortunately followed the series of controversies around the Leaving Cert,” he said.

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