Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Charlie McConalogue has said the Government has only itself to blame for the current state of relations with teacher representatives regarding reform of the Junior Cert.

Deputy McConalogue commented: “It is no wonder relations between the Department of Education and teacher unions are at an all-time low when you consider the manner in which this government approached the issue of junior cert reform from the outset.

“The Minister’s comments today that she intends to proceed with planned Junior Cert reforms without agreement will only serve to worsen relations with teachers. In fact such action would be extremely provocative given the fact that teachers have said they will not proceed with further strike action but do want more negotiations. I do not want to return to a situation where students could face more disruption in the run-up to exams.

“The reality is the Government botched this reform process from the outset and alienated teachers in process. You simply cannot engage in a reform of this magnitude without bringing key stakeholders with you. The genuine concerns that teachers were raising simply were not take into account until they had engaged in industrial action.

“The Government needs to restore a spirit of partnership to the process of Junior Cert reform and just acting unilaterally will do nothing to bring that about.”