Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Sean D. Barrett: Information on Sean D. Barrett Zoom on Sean D. Barrett] In the junior certificate, "-14" should have read "1-4" . We must get an adequate standard of mathematics teaching. There are unqualified mathematics teachers. We also need such an approach to the printing and proofing of examination papers.

Senator Mary M. White: Information on Mary M. White Zoom on Mary M. White Hear, hear.

Senator Sean D. Barrett: Information on Sean D. Barrett Zoom on Sean D. Barrett I urge the Leader to draw those matters to the attention of the Ministers, Deputy Quinn and Deputy Bruton, and the Minister of State, Deputy Sherlock, because promoting ourselves as a high-technology economy and making those kind of mistakes - to the demoralisation of young people - is damaging to the country. We are all agreed on that. There is expertise in that the Minister himself is an architect and Senator Clune is an engineer. We should not be making such mistakes at the expense of so many young people doing exams.

  I also ask the Leader to welcome the G8 to County Fermanagh next week. Councillor Alex Baird is the chairman of Fermanagh District Council. I thank Prime Minister Cameron who has brought this great summit to this country.

Senator Mary M. White: Information on Mary M. White Zoom on Mary M. White Hear, hear.

Senator Sean D. Barrett: Information on Sean D. Barrett Zoom on Sean D. Barrett I note that the library in the summit venue is named the Senator Gordon Wilson Library. I am sure the G8 will be as inspired by Gordon Wilson as we were when he was a Member of this House. I wish the summit every success. Having Gordon Wilson so honoured by the G8 in the choice of venue and the naming of the library after him is a tribute to a great man whom we sorely miss in our deliberations.

Senator Jim D'Arcy: Information on Jim D'Arcy Zoom on Jim D'Arcy As Senator Barrett said, the State Examinations Commission has confirmed there was a mistake in the leaving certificate higher level maths paper 2. Senator Barrett referred to other errors. I understand that people can make mistakes but I was very disappointed with what happened in that regard. We must ensure that greater care is taken in compiling leaving certificate examination papers. I heard of a Wallace & Gromit film called "The Wrong Trousers", but in this case we have the wrong triangle. That is unacceptable in this day and age.

Senator Mary M. White: Information on Mary M. White Zoom on Mary M. White Hear, hear.

Senator Jim D'Arcy: Information on Jim D'Arcy Zoom on Jim D'Arcy We need greater checks and balances. I ask the Minister to set up an internal investigation to report on how those errors occurred in the maths papers, in particular when we are encouraging more students to do maths.

  Before I conclude I wish to refer as well to the fact that in the CSPE exam a question referring to the Referendum Commission mistakenly stated the commission presented arguments for and against. I cannot understand how anybody in charge of civics in this country would not be aware of the position. My daughter, who is brilliant, did the exam but she might have thought "Referendum Commission" was the name of a boy band. However, such mistakes should not be made.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden I found the Taoiseach’s comments in launching the Bill quite offensive when he said the Seanad did nothing to challenge the unsustainable policies of the Celtic tiger. Will the Leader of the House invite the Taoiseach to argue his case in this House, bearing in mind that in 2007 the published manifesto of Fine Gael and the Labour Party was to protect progress? What an endorsement. It is like accusing the steerage passengers on the Titanic of being responsible for the ship hitting the iceberg. It is a groundless accusation. At the time the Seanad debated and passed legislation with the Government. We were not the Government. Whatever Government is in place, the Seanad is not the Government. It was a most offensive and unfortunate comment.


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