Simon Harris: 1,000 extra college spots may be needed because of Leaving Cert grading error

Simon Harris: 1,000 extra college spots may be needed because of Leaving Cert grading error

At tonight's Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris told his party that around 1,000 additional places could be needed to remedy the situation. Picture: Julian Behal Photography/PA Wire

Up to 1,000 additional college places may be required to fill demand caused by the Leaving Cert grading error.

Around 6,500 students are estimated to be impacted by the calculated grades error, with between 800 and 900 estimated to have missed out on a college place.

At tonight's Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris told his party that around 1,000 additional places could be needed to remedy the situation.

Those who had marks wrongly downgraded would be viewed as a successful appeal, Mr Harris said. The full CAO data will be known next week.

The meeting also heard that the junior education minister Josepha Madigan was not briefed on the issue until 3pm today, some time after the issue was raised in the Dáil. 

Senator Regina Doherty is understood to have told the meeting that the party should have been better briefed on the situation.

Also at the meeting, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that he had spoken to former senator Michael D'Arcy on Sunday but did not ask if he had received a dispensation from the Standards In Public Office Commission to take up his new role at the Irish Association of Investment Managers. 

Mr Varadkar told the meeting that he had assumed Mr D'Arcy would have done that himself. Mr Varadkar added that he was "disappointed" and felt Mr D'Arcy should have sought approval from SIPO.

He added that the Seanad by-election for Mr D'Arcy's seat would be contested.

Cork North-Central TD Colm Burke brought a motion which was approved unanimously which will see Fine Gael work to honour commitments made in Budget 2020 around medical cards for over 70s, along with a 50 cent cut in the prescription charge for medical card holders. 

Mr Burke is understood to have said that the measure was now possible through legislation passed in July and should now be progressed.

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