Schools face closure again and examinations are under threat as teachers continue industrial action.

Ongoing industrial action over pay between the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Department of Education means that state examinations may not go ahead as planned.

The dispute is ongoing at the Labour Court and schools are preparing for another in a series of stoppages putting Leaving Certificate oral examinations in doubt. The government insists that contingency plans are being put in place to make sure that all parts of both the Leaving and Junior Certificate examinations will take place.

General Secretary of ASTI Charlie Lennon says that if the thousands of secondary teachers who work on the examinations withdraw their services, it will be extremely difficult to replace them. He believes that it will be impossible for the exams to go ahead without the participation of teachers. He said that the only way that the dispute could be settled would be through direct talks with the government.

The Minister for Education met with the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCCP) this morning and assured them that the exams would go ahead as planned. They were told that advertisements seeking graduates to supervise the exams would be rolled out this week.

Yet again the unions and the government are in disagreement and there is no sign of a resolution to the dispute.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 11 March 2001. The reporter is Colm O'Callaghan.