[Sinn Fein]

21 March 2001

School students' protest day of action: Government must talk to solve teachers' dispute

Sinn Fein has accused the Government of ``sitting back, washing its hands of responsibility and playing students and parents off against the secondary teachers to try and break the ASTI dispute''.

Sinn Fein spokesperson Cllr Seán Crowe said that the Government needs to help solve the problem by holding peace talks without preconditions.

Cllr Crowe said that it is not enough for the Government to make sure that the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams take place without considering what happens afterwards in terms of marking, the exams' standing and integrity for students' careers, and the impact on the education system and staff relations when the dispute ends.  Cllr  Crowe said:

``It is no good the Government trying to steam-roller the Leaving Cert through without any thought for what this will do to relations with teachers after the dispute, the future of the education system and the well-being and careers of students facing into exams.

``Is the Government serious about resolving this dispute or is it more interested in showing that it's the toughest kid in the school yard?''

* Cllr Seán Crowe @ 087 6800 122

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