Taoiseach, Micheál Martin (left) and Minister for Education Norma Foley

This morning.


Via RTÉ:

Ms Foley is set to make a statement in the Dáil today about errors discovered in this year’s Leaving Certificate calculated grades process.

The full impact of the mistake, and the exact number of students affected, will only be known when a second review of all marks awarded is completed.

Universities have warned that they do not have the capacity to offer places to all students who may receive a new CAO offer on foot of upgraded Leaving Certificate results.

Among the questions unanswered as yet: when will the students who have been affected be told?

Minister admits some students may have to defer college place (RTÉ)

Yesterday: The New Norma


34 thoughts on “I Told Him

  1. Toby

    I feel very sorry for Norma Foley as the gowls pile on the attack (why do women hate women so venomously? #notallwomenobvs)?? The civil servants in that department are not fit for purpose but as usual lets pick on the new woman not the cancer within.

    1. scottser

      that’s where the buck stops, i’m afraid.
      she is empowered to lead. if she can’t do that then she’s the one that is ‘not fit for purpose’.

      1. Cian

        She has been Minister since 27 June 2020.
        She isn’t responsible for the whole mess.

        She isn’t responsible for:
        – cancelling the LC
        – the original decision to outsource this, the section criteria, the design of the LC grading, the testing, or any failures of the company

        She is responsible for:
        – not being on top of the mess. She has know for more than a week so should be able to tell us today (a) what the issue was, (b) what the impact is; (c) what the next steps are, (d) when will the corrected grades be released.

    2. broadbag

      So she gets a free pass because she’s a woman? Do you see how much vitriol and hatred there is for Stephen Donnelly, Harris before him, Varadkar, Martin…the list goes on, but that’s fine because they don’t have ovaries?

      1. Otis Blue

        We should always be prepared to call out ineptitude and incompetence, irrespective of gender.

        It will be interesting to see how open they are about how these errors occurred. As Pig Phil found out to his cost, it’s the fudge and lies that do for you.

          1. curmudgeon

            Well for a start she didn’t cancel todays CAO round offers despite knowing a week ago. David McCullough asked her why she didn’t cancel it repeatedly on last night six one! She deflected and skirted the question and claimed it wouldnt negatively affedct any student. McCullough ,perplexed, rhetorically asked how is that the case if the courses are filled.

            So there’s that.

    3. GiggidyGoo

      Why feel sorry for her? Should we feel sorry for all politicians then? She’s put herself forward to represent her constituency, and country to the best of her ability. She’s getting well paid for it. If this is her best, then it’s shameful that she’s been entrusted with anything by Micheal Martin. Should we feel sorry for him too?

      She’s a square Peig in a round hole. School kid type of excuses bordering on ‘The dog ate my homework’, ‘I was going to do it yesterday’, ‘Not my area now because I told someone’

    4. V AKA Frilly Keane

      In fairness
      Much of the pile on as you say Toby
      Is coming from within her own party
      And believe not or not
      Her own profession

      To be put into this Ministry
      During the biggest crisis it has ever faced
      A candidate who’s own local Comhairle didn’t select
      Deserves to be highly questionable

      The right thing to do was to leave Joe McHugh there, and see through the LC results, and the reopening,
      Especially as the former was predicted to be a one of the biggest disasters of the Pandemic decisions
      Rather than appoint someone with zero experience
      Someone with no Political CV – only that her father was a disgraced TD with no legislative legacy

      Michéal Martin owns this one, everywhere you look at it
      He’s the one that ignored his own party and pinned her on the FF ticket, and put her in this position
      He has as much to answer for as Sister Norma does

      As I said, they should have left Joe McHugh where he was and stick the Sister onto him as a Junior

      And even if Joe McHugh wasn’t interested, since he did turn down another offer.
      Catherine Martin was by far the next best option

      Thems the facts
      No point blaming everyone else beyond Michéal Martin for Sister Norma getting a hard time of it

      I don’t feel sorry for her one bit

    5. Toby

      What did she do wrong? She was ill served by a bunch of lifers. But you big strong men hold her to account like jobsworths.

  2. bejasus

    if I had just done my leaving Id run away from this failed kip straight away.
    no part of this country isn’t a failure.

  3. SOQ

    What is the point of pictures where people have half their faces concealed? It is all over the place and has an awful bang of political theatre off it.

  4. Lilly

    This is one of the few occasions where I have some sympathy for the politicians. A mistake was made in a line of code. Alan Kelly doubts this, but it happens. The developers would have been under pressure to do a rushed job and it clearly wasn’t tested rigorously. But, as Scottser says above, the buck stops with them. They probably could have acted sooner.

    1. curmudgeon

      If it’s not open source then it’s a scapegoat. They won’t even tell us the algorithm used aka the way the govt decided the results. Blaming the company is a cop out, the whole thing should have never come to this and even though this affects 10% of students they didn’t postpone the next round – which is today!

      1. Lilly

        Also, she says they have now appointed a company in America to review the code. Why didn’t they appoint ‘the best’ first off for such a crucial project?

        1. V AKA Frilly Keane

          I’ll say it again lads

          It doesn’t say much for all the smarty pants educators engaged by the Dept of Ed
          Or even all the lads in the Higher Ed sector
          If their own employer resorts to external suppliers

          1. Lilly

            The value of the Polymetrika contract was €75,000. I wouldn’t really expect them to have that level of development expertise in-house.

          2. Cian

            You said it before and it didn’t make sense then and doesn’t make sense now.

            Why would *anyone* have in-house expertise in IT development? The Department of Education is full of Civil Servants who are, in the main, generalists. The Civil Service don’t hire specialists (outside of one or two specific areas, e.g. accountants). There is a general civil service recommendation that people move every 3-5 years. I doubt if there are any people there with IT development skills – and why should there be?

            Outsourcing is the best option when you are looking for very specific skills for a one-off job.

          3. Vanessanelle

            Ara I dunno

            Maybe one or some of their own graduates
            Or State Funded/ College Research Facilty Start Ups

            Or better again, how come all the Educators employed couldn’t come up with a way to get 6th years back into schools, rejig timetables and rosters, reconfigured desks & class rooms, and exam halls
            be they school halls, parish halls, dance halls, community halls or general function rooms
            Tisn’t like they were all booked out

            Feck they’ve no problem using Luke O’Neill’s start up labs
            Do they?

          4. Cian


            You are just contrary.

            If they had used “Maybe one or some of their own graduates” and a similar issue had occurred can you imagine the outcry? “Who decided to let a graduate write a program that decides the fate of 60,000 LC students? It’s a disgrace Joe!”

            And I totally agree that the LC shouldn’t have been cancelled. But you can’t blame Norma Foley for that decision.

          5. GiggidyGoo

            Cian. There are numerous qualified people within the Civil / Public Service arena that could have been deployed to this task. For example, The HSE have program writers for instance. Yes – they do hire specialists such as Senior Programmer. Divert, distract eh?

            There are capable companies in the country too. Who wrote the software for the Covid Tracing App? Nearform, a Waterford company.

            Who are we giving all sorts of ‘IT’ grants to?

            The websites (yes, there are a few) of Polymetrika wouldn’t instill much confidence. would it? Have a look.

            What is needed to know now is who made the decision to employ that company, when, and what was asked for. Halligan, in situ up to June, had no dealings with that company. https://mobile.twitter.com/PoliticsWatch14/status/1311484431488741376
            Nice head office. Not!

  5. dan

    It is and was the responsibility of Norma Foley to inform all those affected by this, including making a public statement.

    Instead, she blames one line of code in 50,000 as if this is a minor error. She gets paid €170,000 Salary plus €50,00 in tax free expenses, she’s 100% responsible for this flip up.

    Just like Michael McGrath is responsible for the €68,000,000 cost overrun in FMSS. He get paid exactly the same as Foley.

    FMSS I hear you ask? It’s a new IT system for the public service that may put PPARS to shame, bad news released yesterday so that the Leaving Cert cluster flip drowns it out

    1. curmudgeon

      Broadsheet needs to cover this. It’s been absolutely buried everywhere despite being a massive scandal itself.

    2. GiggidyGoo

      Originally it was projected that the design and build of the FMSS system would cost €47.4m ex VAT and it was due to be completed by June of this year.

      The usual – pluck a figure out and double (at least) or treble it.

      And it’s a financial management system. Jeebus wept.


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