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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Financial Resolutions 2017
 Header Item Financial Resolution No. 2: General (Resumed)

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 924 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton] Everyone in this House agrees that this pathway is the right direction, although perhaps not everyone else does. We have asked the ASTI to allow its teachers to derogate from the instruction that has been given, so that the English classroom-based assessment can be carried out and the young people sitting their junior certificate have access to that part of the examination. We need to be progressive about the way we teach and this is the right approach. We have invested in 550 additional teachers in this budget to support the roll-out of the junior certificate. Supporting teaching and learning in a new way, to progressively change the environment in which young people learn, is a very important element of the junior certificate. The Deputy stands up for the importance of education as a means to transform our society and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, whom she rightly referenced, recognises that if we want a fair and successful society, we have to value every element of our talent pool, not just the cohort who remember what they learned three years ago and can produce it in an exam. I hope the ASTI will allow pupils to complete the assessment system provided for by the State Examinations Commission.

Deputy Catherine Martin: Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin In putting the question to the Minister, I was not asking him to defend the reform but to help the students and guarantee that they will not lose out on 10% of their marks in English. I hope the Minister can lead, prioritise, instil and inject a real sense of pressing urgency into the ongoing negotiations and that all involved will redouble their efforts to resolve the dispute but the possibility of negotiations failing necessitates having a plan B. The Government has a duty to the students and to the welfare of our young people to show foresight and see the consequences that might flow from its actions. It cannot flail from crisis to crisis without trying to anticipate the events it is putting in motion. The bottom line is that there is an ongoing dispute with the ASTI, which means junior certificate students are going to suffer. The Minister must find a way to level the playing field for these children. Next June, third year students will face their first State examination and no students should have to face that exam, to walk into the examination hall, knowing that before they put pen to paper, they are 10% down on their results through no fault of their own. The Minister for Education should not let that happen.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I regret that Deputy Martin is seeking to play political football with something that is really important. It is unheard of to advocate, in this House, that the State examination system, under which we provide an assessment of every child in the country, should be undermined because one trade union has decided not to co-operate in teaching it over the past number of years.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Deputy Martin did not say that

Deputy Catherine Martin: Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin I am advocating for children.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton That is a very irresponsible approach. Deputy Martin should be asking the ASTI to allow the derogation so that children who have studied the curriculum can sit the full examination as intended.

Deputy Catherine Martin: Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin The Minister needs a plan B.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton We have to defend the integrity of the examination system. We cannot have an individual union deciding that it will undermine something that has been negotiated with all the trade unions over years and agreed by all except one, in a vote in which there was only a 38% turnout. Now the children may not get the opportunity to sit that part of the exam.

Deputy Catherine Martin: Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin Say that to the students, Minister.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Deputy Martin should not be playing political football with this as it is something that is important to our children. The ASTI should allow the pupils to sit the exam as intended.

Financial Resolutions 2017

Financial Resolution No. 2: General (Resumed)

  Debate resumed on the following motion:

THAT it is expedient to amend the law relating to inland revenue (including value-added tax and excise) and to make further provision in connection with finance.
 - (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Pat Breen): Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen I wish to share time with the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Patrick O'Donovan.

  Last night I spoke about Enterprise Ireland and its team based in London. It provides support to clients to identify key business opportunities in the short to medium term, with advice on responding to the implications of Brexit such as improving competitiveness and reducing supply chain costs.


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