Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath has revealed that ministers were not told about the Leaving Cert calculated grade error at Cabinet on Tuesday.
In an interview with the, Mr McGrath said that despite this issue being known about for a week, Education Minister Norma Foley did not inform her colleagues at their weekly meeting.
“So, this issue was not brought up at Cabinet. So I'm only learning about this today in the same way as everybody else, and I haven't had the opportunity of being fully briefed on it. I haven't got any any detailed briefing from the department on it but it was not discussed at Cabinet,” he said.
Mr McGrath said it was "understandable” that Ms Foley would not reveal the details until she and her department had a sufficient grasp of the issue.
“Well I can understand that before you bring an issue like that into the public domain, you need to be able to answer questions and people who are impacted would understandably want answers to questions,” he said.
The minister said the episode is a “deeply unfortunate turn of events”, and said he “really feels” for the class of 2020.
“What we need to do is to ensure that all of those who are impacted, that they get the course that they would otherwise have got,” he said.
Mr McGrath said if students end up with higher points as a result of a change in their grades, then there is an obligation of government to make sure that they get the place they would otherwise have got.
He also said the contract signed with the outside company must be examined to see what recourse is there for the State.
“And, of course, that contract now needs to be very carefully examined, to see what recourse the state may have in relation to these errors. But I think the immediate priority is to is to address the issues that this creates for the students,” he said.
Mr McGrath said that while this was the State’s first attempt at a calculated grades system in exceptional circumstances, they are not an excuse for the errors found.
“That is not an excuse for errors of this nature occurring. Clearly, they should not have occurred and we just have to make sure no that the people who were given a poorer result than they should have been given as a result of the errors are looked after. That's the challenge we have to knuckle down to immediately,” he said.