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Well-merited recognition for Dr Lynn and women like her

Letters to the Editor


Ailbhe Smyth will receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin on Saturday: Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Ailbhe Smyth will receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin on Saturday: Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Ailbhe Smyth will receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin on Saturday: Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

I fully concur with the sentiments of Tom Cooper in his letter (‘Time to finally honour the work of Dr Kathleen Lynn’, Irish Independent, June 7). I was delighted to recognise Ailbhe Smyth, Prof Mary Aiken and Kellie Harrington with the Freedom of the City of Dublin, which I will formally award on Saturday.

However, as the freedom of the city can only be awarded to living people, other ways must be found to recognise past women who, like Dr Lynn, have made a significant contribution not only to our city, but to our nation.

I am pleased that on Sunday week, June 19, I will unveil a plaque to recognise Dr Lynn and her partner, Madeleine ffrench-Mullen, at the Clayton Hotel on Charlemont Street. This is the location of the former St Ultan’s Hospital, which was established by both women in 1919 as a female-run hospital for infants.

Dr Lynn and Ms ffrench-Mullen, along with 78 other accomplished women who contributed to the city, are also being recognised in an upcoming publication from myself, along with journalist and author Clodagh Finn, entitled Her Keys to the City. I hope the commemorative plaque and the book will go some way to honouring Dr Lynn and women like her.

Alison Gilliland, Lord Mayor of Dublin

Early risers deserve greater concessions for their efforts

Leo Varadkar promised to support the early risers, but it’s unclear what he has achieved. He could start with tax relief on mortgages, rent and childcare. A solid rent-payment record should be accredited with mortgage applications.

Our super-efficient Revenue could work out a fair and equitable system in the blink of an eye. It’s the early risers’ vote that will decide the next election.

Michael Foley, Rathmines, Dublin 6

Exam summers of the past mirror much of the present

In wishing all Leaving Cert students the best of luck today and for the exam season, I am reminded that on June 2, 1970 – the day before the examination that year – I awaited what was to come. It would include pink papers and white papers, hot, sweaty and inky hands and boiling sunshine.

There were the poker-faced invigilators. Stentorian pronouncements. Furtive glances at how far along others were. The clock on the wall, racing or creeping forward.

The sound of a pen falling on the floor. The race to the exit on completion. Excuses, hubris, devastation, elation, whoops, tears and no time to reflect until the next paper.

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Back then, I wondered what the process might be like in, say, 50 years’ time.

Martin Donnellan, Prague, Czechia

Stagger Leaving Cert over two years to help reduce pressure

The traditional Leaving Certificate examination has not changed substantially over the years, despite some modest reform in recent times. Currently, students are assessed mainly by written examinations in most subject areas.

The current system requires students of mathematics, Irish, biology, French and history to spend 15 hours and 30 minutes doing written assessments over three days, with two examinations in different disciplines each day. It comes as no surprise that this high-stakes examination puts so much pressure on our students.

I suggest the Leaving Certificate programme should be modularised and assessed over a two-year period, possibly at Christmas and in the summer of each year.

The subject specialists and the experts in the field are the people best placed to decide what to assess and how to assess at each stage, and what weighting should be allocated to each assessment.

This weighting could vary from subject to subject and should be agreed by the relevant parties – the Department of Education, the National Council for Curriculum Assessment, school management, teachers and unions.

Four assessments over a two-year period would allow for the use of different assessment methods as well as examining a greater cross-section of each subject area. I am not suggesting four mini versions of the current system, but different assessment methods should be employed, including continuous assessment and methods best suited to each discipline.

We hear much talk about the importance of feedback to students. I suggest students should be given the results and feedback after each assessment to enable them to improve where necessary. An essential element of this proposed system is that assessments should be marked externally and independently.

Seán de Brún, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

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