Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has strongly criticised the announcement this evening that the Department of Education will not release Leaving Cert results until September 7.
Minister for Education Norma Foley TD announced that the Student Portal for the Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades will open for students next Monday, 20 July at 12pm.
Through this portal, all Leaving Certificate students will be able to confirm that they wish to receive their Calculated Grades results.
"Calculated Grades will provide you with a formal record of your work and achievements in second-level school.
"They will be fair and reliable and will be accepted by employers and colleges," the Minister said.
"The results will be issued on September 7, so that they will operate seamlessly with the CAO system and UCAS in the UK.
"All of this means that you have certainty that you will be able to use the grades to move on to the next phase of your life, either in work or further study, in the autumn," she continued.
First round CAO offers will be made four days after results have been issued, on September 11.
However, Sinn Féin's Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said releasing the results three weeks later than usual is a "massive blow to students and to their families" and has left them "high and dry".
"This is yet another example of a Department stumbling from crisis to crisis.
"This is a hugely disappointing turn of events for students and it adds to the uncertainty, stress and anxiety they have had to face during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Not only that, it raises serious questions about how the new third level year will work and when it will commence.
"We need real clarity now on how this announcement is going to impact on the beginning of the new third level year and what this means for students who have applied for third level places in other jurisdictions; many of whom have been offered a course and are awaiting their results to secure their place," Deputy Ó Laoghaire said.
He also called for clarity in terms of what the delayed release of results will mean for the appeals process.
"All of these questions need to be answered without delay.
"This is not the fault of schools and teachers, who have held up their end of the bargain and submitted calculated grades on time.
"The responsibility for this debacle lies squarely at the door of the Department," he said.