The Minister for Education has promised a review of how students who suffer bereavements during the Leaving Certificate exams are treated.

Joe McHugh was responding to the case of a Tipperary student who lost her mother during the exams last June.

Ms Butler told RTÉ's Ryan Tubridy show how her mother, Margaret, died on 13 June, and of how she had to get up the next morning to sit her Leaving Certificate exam in Business. 

Ms Butler sat three more exams over the coming days, while her mother was buried on the Saturday.

Today Mr McHugh said he wanted to see "something done in a positive way". Speaking on the show, he said that he had spoken to Ms Butler by telephone.

He agreed he was hopeful and optimistic that he could address the issue. He said there was a review currently going on and that officials would be meeting next week. 

The minister said he was "not just responding to a media issue", and that "compassion is required here".

Ms Butler told RTÉ News that she feels happier now that the issue has come to public attention. She said she was "happy enough" with the minister's response and she would "see how it develops". 

Ms Butler has called for additional exams to be held a few weeks after the original June exams to help students in such a position.

The State Examinations Commission always prepares two sets of papers for each subject as a security measure. Ms Butler said the second set of papers could be used in these cases.

Ms Butler was a student at Scoil Mhuire in Carrick-on-Suir. She is now studying at UL in Limerick, where she got news today that she passed her Christmas exams.

Speaking of how she coped on the day of her Leaving Certificate Business exam, Ms Butler said: "I don't remember anything of that day."

She complained that she had had no choice but to sit that exam and subsequent ones the following week. 

She told how her mother was buried on Saturday and she was back in school on Monday for her Accountancy exam. 

"They see us as exam numbers, but we're so much more than that. There are people behind those numbers," she said, adding that she did not want anyone else to have to go through what she had gone through. 

Despite the difficult situation that Ms Butler found herself in, she managed to secure the course of her choice; Business and German at UL.

The State Examinations Commission says it has been undertaking a review of its so called 'Scheme of Reasonable Accommodations' as a "priority action".

This is a scheme which deals with students who face particular challenges when it comes to sitting state exams. 

However, it says that to date the review has focused on supporting candidates with special needs. 

In a statement it says that "every possible effort is made by the SEC to accommodate candidates who suffer illness, bereavement or other trauma either immediately before or during the examinations, and that each year arrangements are made to cater for a wide range of emergencies.

"These include alterations to the standard examination timetable and special sittings in venues such as hospitals."

The SEC says it is possible to arrange an early or late sitting of an examination in order to enable students who suffer a bereavement to attend the funeral of a close family member.

The statement goes on to say that "it has only been possible to facilitate an alteration to the timetable on the day scheduled for that examination".

The SEC says this is a complex situation, and that as part of its ongoing review it is "currently considering the best possible response to the very real life situations which arise at examination time".