‘This was a ministerial decree. That’s not the way to bring people with you’

This is the inside story of how the government did a U-turn on its proposed three-day week for Leaving Cert students after the teachers’ unions and students awarded Norma Foley a ‘fail’

Norma Foley: the Minister for Education was motivated by a desire to ensure the traditional Leaving Cert should go ahead as planned this summerPicture: Julien Behal

Martin Marjoram, the president of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) had never experienced anything like it.

After days of mounting speculation last week that the schools would not be coming back as expected on January 11, word began to filter through that the government was planning on bringing Leaving Cert students back for three days a week.

The response was one of near-widespread alarm, Marjoram said. Most teachers who contacted him were genuinely terrified ...