Talks on the holding of the Leaving Certificate this year are continuing between the Department of Education teacher unions tonight.

It is understood that these talks are separate to other ongoing discussions on a wider reopening of schools.

Speaking this evening, Labour education spokesman Aodhán Ó Ríordáin told RTÉ News that the delay in securing agreement on the Leaving Cert format means we have already passed the point where oral, aural or practicals can take place. 

Social Democrats education spokesman Gary Gannon said all stakeholders have an obligation to the 61,000 students to display some urgency and bring these talks to a conclusion that provides some measure of clarity.

Sources have indicated that there is not yet any memo prepared for Cabinet tomorrow.

It is hoped that clarity will be brought sometime this week.

The ASTI pulled out of talks last week over concerns that calculated grades would be the dominant option offered to students.

It returned to the negotiating table after receiving assurances it said it had received from Minister for Education Norma Foley.

The three coalition party leaders will meet this evening when the issue will also be discussed.

It is understood that the ASTI and TUI talks are centred around the holding of the written Leaving Cert and a parallel option to include a modified form of last year's calculated grades.

Orals, practical exams and the Junior Cycle exams are also part of the broader discussion.

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Sinn Féin transport spokesperson Darren O'Rourke has called for a decision on the Leaving Cert to be made as quickly as possible so students have time to prepare for whatever is agreed.

He said time was of the essence and students are waiting for the outcome of the talks.

Mr O'Rourke said Sinn Féin supports choice in the form of a traditional Leaving Cert or continued assessment or alternative options.