Thursday 22 August 2019

'I beat myself up but it couldn't have worked out better' - Education Minister Joe McHugh on his own Leaving Cert

Education minister Joe McHugh. Photo: Frank McGrath
Education minister Joe McHugh. Photo: Frank McGrath
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Education Minister Joe McHugh has revealed how his disappointment over his Leaving Cert results turned into happy story.

“I beat myself up for a good number of weeks and possibly months” said the minister as he reflected back on his results day 30 years ago.

Mr McHugh was speaking during a visit to the National Parents’ Council post primary (NPCpp) annual Helpline, where guidance counsellors are dealing with calls from students, parents and other family members, such as aunts and grandparents, who have concerns arising from the results.

The Co Donegal-based minister said he thought he was “going to do better” and had wanted to go to Queen’s University, Belfast to study engineering. Instead, “I ended up going to Maynooth for an arts degree”, he said.

But he added: “In hindsight, it could not have worked out better and my message to people who feel that their expectations weren’t met is that there are so many pathways, so many options”.

He recalled his grandmother who used to say ‘what’s for you won’t pass you’, adding that “certainly there will be so many avenues, so many opportunities.”

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