President Michael D Higgins says homework should be banned in Ireland

The country’s favourite leader believes that school activities should end at the school gate and students should be encouraged to engage in more creative pursuits

  • 10:39, 21 JAN 2023

President Michael D Higgins

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President Michael D Higgins has called for homework to be banned.

The country’s favourite leader has given hope to a new generation of students that the bane of their afterschool evenings could be scrapped. President Higgins argues that this would make time for young people to engage in more creative pursuits outside school hours.

The former Arts Minister believes that school activities should end at the school gate. He was speaking to RTE’s news2day current affairs and news programme for children on the occasion of the programme’s 20th birthday.

Read more: Children being 'corrupted' by drug dealing situation in Oliver Bond flats, Dail told

When asked what his opinion of homework President Higgins said: “I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things.”

To mark the show’s two decades on air, students from St Kevin’s National School, Littleton, County Tipperary put questions from RTÉ news2day viewers to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin. In a wide-ranging interview, the children asked the President questions like, what was your favourite sport when you were in school?

When you were nine years old what did you want to be? And when did you decide you wanted to be President?

The students also asked the President about his dogs, his official trips abroad, his favourite subject in school, differences between now and when he was a child and his favourite book. The President also spoke to the children about his love of handball and the importance of friendship in their lives.

RTÉ news2day will broadcast some of the President’s interview as part of Friday afternoon’s birthday celebrations at 4.20pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ News channel and the full interview will be available later on Friday evening on the RTÉ Player. In a message to the children of Ireland and the viewers of RTÉ news2day, President Michael D. Higgins gave this advice: “To stay curious about everything and I think it’s important to make sure you don’t miss the joy of sharing information.

“And I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong. And we will all do individual things... but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important. And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same.

“We’re all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us.” President Higgins also encouraged the children of Ireland to speak the Irish language.

He encouraged them to speak Irish in a fun way and to feel free to use whatever bits of the language that they have.

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ban of homework in ireland

President Michael D. Higgins wants to ban homework.

The President Of Ireland Wants To Get Rid Of Homework & Honestly, He's Onto Something

“The time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school.”

Do you know who doesn’t like homework? Kids — and certain presidents. In an impassioned plea to the people of his nation, President Michael D. Higgins has called for a ban on homework across Ireland. And if small children were given the right to vote tomorrow, I feel fairly certain I know whose name they would be supporting on the ballot.

Higgins, who is himself a former Arts Minister of Ireland and therefore, in my opinion, knows a little about the subject, spoke to Ireland’s news program for kids RTE’s news2day at St. Kevin’s School in Tipperary about a number of subjects. What he wanted to be when he was a kid himself. What was his favorite sport in school, which he said was handball. When did he decide he wanted to be president. And then, the mutual bane of their existence — homework.

“I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things,” Higgins told his interviewers, four children hanging on his every word.

While it remains unclear if Higgins has begun any official paperwork to ban homework, which would ironically be homework for him, his sentiment resonated with his many fans. Children and social media users alike in fact. One person tweeted their appreciation of the fact that Higgins was “running his nation like the little Hobbit he is.”

Another social media user wondered if Higgins was really a “forest sprite.”

This social media user found the idea inspiring , writing, “We need a national conversation on how to bring more play, creativity, imagination, movement and positive experiences into our children’s lives. Banning homework would be a great first step.”

Higgins ended his interview with a message to children about the importance of fostering their friendships and telling them to “stay curious about everything and I think it’s important to make sure you don’t miss the joy of sharing information. And I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong. And we will all do individual things... but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important.”

I think he’s on to something.

ban of homework in ireland

President Michael D Higgins has suggested homework should be done in school to allow time for creative pursuits

President Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins and his dog

President Michael D Higgins and his dog

thumbnail: President Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins has said he believes homework should be done in school, so children can spend more time pursuing creative activities.

The President said “time in school… should get finished in school.”

Mr Higgins weighed on the homework debate while speaking to pupils from St Kevin's National School, Littleton, Co Tipperary on a special, 20th anniversary, episode of RTÉ’s news2day programme.

“People should be able to use their time for other creative things,” he said.

“I think as much as possible that [homework] should happen in the school and I think it’s more relaxed than it used to be.”

President Higgins is due to complete his second term in office in 2025.

Speaking about his time in office, he said the week he spent in Creeslough, Co Donegal, following the explosion which killed ten people last October had been one of the most significant moments of his presidency.

“A very moving one for me was the week I spent with the people of Creeslough, with the people who had suffered that terrible damage in their community, and they had eight funerals and a great deal of grief,” he said.

Meanwhile, the President spoke about a number of different issues during the special episode.

He told how an “emotional” moment for him and his wife Sabina was his inauguration at Dublin Castle.

President Higgins also talked about his two dogs, Bród agus Misneach, and admitted that Bród is probably one of the most famous dogs in Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins and his dog

"He's probably a very famous dog now. He will be 11 in February, which is a very good age for a Bernese Mountain dog and Bród is wonderful,” he said.

"He came here at six weeks old, so he's lived all of his life at the Áras."

Mr Higgins also shared a special message with the children of Ireland, encouraging them to be kind to one another and to keep the Irish language alive.

“An important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship. We’ll all do individual things past that, but I think the friendships that you make will also be great memories,” he said.

“It’s also important to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space to stand their ground too. None of us are the same, we’re all unique but I would say, at the same time, we have a lot going for us.”

“The hope of the Irish language is with young people… Speak Irish in a way that gives you pleasure. Whatever bits of it you have use it, and don’t be worried. We’re not aiming for the Nobel Prize, we’re just saying the language that was our own language from the very beginning, thousands of years ago.”

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President Michael D Higgins calls for school homework to be scrapped

President Michael D Higgins stopped by St Kevin's National School in Tipperary where the pupils interviewed him about his dogs, his time in school and his view on homework

  • 15:01, 21 JAN 2023

ban of homework in ireland

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President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has said he supports the scrapping of homework.

He addressed students of St Kevin's National School, Littleton, Co Tipperary, this week in an episode of RTE's news2day programme.

The President said that schoolwork should be completed in school time so children can use time after school to pursue more creative activities.

Read more: Ireland weather: Met Eireann pin point the end of the cold snap as temperatures skyrocket next week

“People should be able to use their time for other creative things,” he said.

"I think as much as possible that [homework] should happen in the school and I think it’s more relaxed than it used to be.”

He said that not all lessons are learned from books, but that the responsible use of phones is something that he hopes the younger generation will be acutely aware of.

The children of Ireland "have a great value of friendships" and this makes it even more tragic when there is an "abuse of phones for bullying", the President said.

The pupils were also curious about some of the other residents of Aras an Uachtaran - dogs Brod and Misneach.

"He's probably a very famous dog now," said President Higgins of Brod. "He will be 11 in February, which is a very good age for a Bernese Mountain dog and Bród is wonderful.

"He came here at six weeks old, so he's lived all of his life at the Áras..

As for Misneach, he said: "He came during Covid and because I couldn't collect him because of the ban on inter-county travel, he didn't come to me until he was five months old.

"He also didn't have a good journey here, so he's actually shy. He's a beautiful dog."

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President Michael D Higgins says he doesn't think children should have homework

In a wide-ranging interview with Irish children, the president was asked for his thoughts on homework

  • 15:35, 20 JAN 2023
  • Updated 11:44, 20 APR 2023

ban of homework in ireland

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President Michael D Higgins has called for homework to be banned.

End of homework

Higgins has suggested that school activities should end at the school gates.

A smile is likely to have cross children and teenagers' faces after the president of Ireland suggested that homework should be scrapped.

Higgins argued that getting rid of homework would allow young people more time to engage in creative pursuits outside of school hours.

Speaking on RTÉ's news2day programme for the occasion of its 20th anniversary, children were able to put questions to Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Higgins was asked about his opinion on homework.

The president replied: "I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things."

This isn't the first time a political leader has sought to curry favour with future voters.

In March 2022, when then-Taoiseach Micheál Martin was isolating in the US during his St Patrick's Day visit, told the children of Ireland that they could have the day off homework if they did a kind deed.

ban of homework in ireland

Other questions for President Higgins

Other questions that the children asked the president included:

  • What was your favourite sport when you were in school?
  • When you were nine years old what did you want to be?
  • When did you decide you wanted to be president?
  • What is your favourite book?

The president was asked about his dogs, his official trips abroad, his favourite subject in school, the difference between his childhood and nowadays.

Higgins told the children he loved handball and spoke about the importance of friendship in their lives.

He encouraged the children to speak the Irish language.

ban of homework in ireland

A message to the children of Ireland

In a message to the children of Ireland and the viewers of RTÉ news2day, President Michael D. Higgins gave this advice: "Stay curious about everything and I think it's important to make sure you don't miss the joy of sharing information.

"I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong.

"And we will all do individual things... but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important.

"And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same.

"We're all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us."

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Showing now | lifestyle.

Ireland president suggests schools should avoid setting children homework

Mary-Kate Findon | Saturday 21 January 2023 16:06 GMT

Irish president suggests schools should avoid setting children homework

Ireland's president has suggested that schools should avoid assigning children homework, leaving school at the gates.

Michael D Higgins shared his beliefs on the matter during a sit down with students that was broadcast on RTE.

"People should be able to use their time for other creative things," he told the children during his visit to Tipperary.

The 81-year-old also offered words of wisdom for the young people, urging them to "stay curious about everything."

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Students and parents plead case for homework ban

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School children and parents pleaded with the Minister for Education Norma Foley to step in and introduce a homework ban.

In letters to the minister, kids wrote about how they were being forced to give up hobbies because they were given so much work to do after school.

The correspondence followed comments by President Michael D Higgins in January that a ban on homework should be considered.

In one letter, a school child wrote about how seven hours of school each day was “plenty of education” and that more work on top was unnecessary.

“I do not ask for homework to be completely banned but for it to be reduced to a certain limit. Otherwise, if there is a constant build-up of homework daily, it can cause stress and even a lack of exercise which will affect a person’s well-being.”

Another said they felt homework was a “waste of time” and that a ban should be introduced.

They wrote: “Kids should be doing more creative things with their time after school. Many kids have had to stop doing hobbies they have because of it.

“It is a burden to parents, kids, and teachers [and] so for the above reasons, I think you should BAN HOMEWORK!”

Homework annoys teachers

One hand-written letter, decorated with a Minnie Mouse bow, said homework was “annoying for teachers and pupils”.

“I play soccer and love writing stories, but because of homework, I have no time for doing these things. For teachers, it gives them more copies to correct and they have to go through the trouble of deciding what [homework] to give.”

A secondary school student said that if “sleeping isn’t for school” then “work isn’t for home”.

They explained how they did between one and two hours of homework every evening after school and sometimes more.

“When I would finish, there would be barely any time for me to relax before I had to go to bed to get enough sleep to get up in the morning,” said their letter.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, our president Michael D Higgins also thinks that homework should be banned so if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to our President.”

Another suggested there could at least be a compromise so that students would not be given homework for over the weekend.

“[This would relieve] students of mental stress,” they said.

Help parents

One young student said they were left with no time to help their parents, or to learn how to cook or do other activities around the house.

They said: “We all do activities like swimming, dance, and all other sports. It’s hard work and it’s stressful and it’s unfair.”

A single parent also wrote in to explain how one of their children was getting two hours of written homework every day.

They said: “We need time to teach them life skills such as sewing, cooking, how to work the washing machine, change their own bed sheets and personal care.

“These teachings are very hard for parents with zero [time] left in the evenings. There is no time for them to spend with siblings and parents because they are so tired.”

Majority Of Workers In Favour Of Four-Day Work Week

In responses, the Department of Education told the letter writers that homework policy was not within its powers.

In emails, they said: “The Department does not issue direct guidelines relating to homework being given in schools. It is a matter for each school, at local level, to arrive at its own homework policy.

“In keeping with good practice, the process of drafting a homework policy should involve consultation with teachers, parents, and students.

“However, the Department does acknowledge that homework can play an important part in helping pupils prepare for forthcoming class work and in reinforcing work already covered during class time.”

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ban of homework in ireland

'Why I believe homework should be banned', by one primary school student

As the discussion around state exams through the Covid-19 shutdown continues, a separate debate about the very need for homework itself rumbles on. Over the years, many have argued that homework for students in busy modern-day family structures is no longer workable.

This year, the Green Party sought to open a discussion about the banning of homework in future. Here, primary school pupil Misha McEnaney, a fifth class student from Dublin, outlines why he believes homework is more of a hindrance than a help.

IRISH CHILDREN SPEND around 274.5 hours on homework in a year. Is it a waste of time? Generally speaking, homework does not improve academic performance among children, although it may improve academic skills among older students especially lower-achieving kids. Homework also creates stress among students who could be doing other things.

I think it is a waste of time. Here’s why I think so. 

Many students think homework is extremely boring and hard so it increases our stress levels. You might fight with your family or friends and that gives the impression you are angry and irritated when often it’s just because your homework is increasing your stress.

Also, a study by scholar Denise Pope at Stanford shows that out of 4,300 students at high-performance schools, 60% stated that their homework was their primary source of stress.

Movement is more important

I believe that homework eliminates time when you could be exercising, playing sports, carrying out hobbies, reading etc. So when your friends are playing outside or something exciting or important is happening you can’t go out because you’re stuck inside doing your homework. 

Homework messes up your sleep cycles and it causes you to be more tired. After school when you’re tired from working you still have to do your homework, so you don’t deliver your full concentration and that makes your performance not as acceptable as it should be. This can cause your grade to go down and so that defeats the whole point of education to become better and smarter. 

A study from teenink.com shows that students perform best in school when they receive 10–12 hours of sleep each night, while only 15% of teenagers in America reported themselves sleeping eight hours or more on school nights, according to the national sleep foundation of America. Sleep disruption is very bad for our health.

Teacher trust

If you’re completely booked up for the day doing sports or other activities you have no time to do your homework. Your teachers start to trust you less and less and this develops a bad view of you when it’s not entirely your fault. 

It’s also repetitive so you’re doing the same work at school and there’s no effectiveness, it’s not going in. So all that homework becomes a waste because you have already completed it at school. You can also easily get distracted.

Homework takes away revision time for tests and that can affect the test scores. That develops a bad reputation for the student and for the school. The parents then assume that the teaching at the school is bad and they might move school. So the kid might lose friends and over time the school becomes less liked and popular.

All because there is too much homework. 

Bad for the mood

If you don’t sleep enough it can cause mood swings which can affect students’ performance and relationships. To think we can stop all of this by just banning homework makes me wonder why schools still give out homework at all.

People who believe that homework should not be banned have reasonable points and arguments. They believe that doing homework at home can be better for the students and they would receive higher results. 

They also think the parents of the students will have an idea of what type of work they are doing in the classroom, at what scale the student is doing their work and how the student is doing that work. There is absolutely no reason why parents shouldn’t know what the student’s work is like. 

Some people believe that homework boosts interaction between a student and his or her teacher. Homework might develop their presentation skills. They believe that homework is “a remedy against weaknesses”. These can all be done at school. They believe it teaches the students responsibility because they have to make sure that they do their work and not lose it or destroy it. 

They think the students learn much more new information as well as in school. So people think it teaches the students important life skills. They also think it keeps the students busy and entertained. I would argue that these should all be the responsibility of parents, not school.

A shift in the debate

The Green Party in Ireland has promised to explore the banning of homework for primary school children. They also vow to review primary and secondary schools curriculum “to meet the needs of the 21st century”. Catherine Martin, deputy leader of the Green Party, said that “the phasing out of homework is something that definitely should be explored”. 

“This isn’t new, this has been on our policy for the past several years. And I think we really need to have a conversation on how best to develop the creative juices of our children, or really change how we do homework, homework could be, ‘go home and draw a picture of something that means a lot to you’,” she said.

ban of homework in ireland

“They’re so young, especially up to the age of seven or eight, it’s a conversation that we need to have”. 

She used the example of Loreto Primary School in Rathfarnham, Dublin, which is currently trialling a “no-homework” programme for all classes except sixth. Ms Martin said that they had found the pilot scheme “amazing” and children were spending a lot more time with their families as a result. 

Mental health considerations

Psychotherapist Mary McHugh believes that we are reducing children’s natural “curious, imaginative and creative” tendencies by “pressuring them to conform”. 

“Our children from the age of three, are being trained to sit still and from five upwards, it’s expected that this is the norm.” McHugh also says that “stress is showing up at an alarming scale and we’re still applying more pressure academically younger and younger”. 

Let’s look at Finland. In Finland, there is no homework in all schools. Finland agrees that there should be no homework because it increases stress, it wastes time etc. Finnish students regularly top the charts on global education metric systems.

Some 93% of Finnish students graduate from secondary school compared to 75% in the USA and 78% in Canada. About two in every three students in Finland go to college which is the highest rate in Europe. The students’ test scores dominate everyone else.  These are the scores for the PISA test (Program for International Student Assessment) 2006.  There are other reasons why Finland’s education system is so good but no homework is definitely an important one. 

Homework increases stress levels among students. It replaces time for hobbies and sports. It messes up your sleep. It can’t always be done and that causes trouble. It’s repetitive. You can develop health problems from lack of sleep.

It takes away time for studying and also when you don’t get enough sleep you can get mood swings and that can affect performance and relationships. There are reasonable arguments for why people who believe that homework shouldn’t be banned are wrong.

We have seen that the Green Party also thinks that homework should be banned and that some schools have already trialled it. We have looked at Finland banning homework and we have seen the impact it has made compared to other countries. This is why I think homework should be banned, not just in my school but in all schools. 

Misha McEnaney is a fifth class student at St Mary’s College, Rathmines, Dublin.

ban of homework in ireland

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Michael D. Higgins Wants Homework In Primary School To Be Banned

Do you agree with him?

ban of homework in ireland

In Finland, children in primary schools across the country don't start school until they are seven years old – and they have no homework. And guess what? Finish students still come out with some of the best results in the world.

As an OECD think tank recently wrote on the matter: "One of the most striking facts about Finnish schools is that their students have fewer hours of instruction than students in any other OECD country."

It continued: "But when it comes to the international Pisa tests, Finland is in sixth place and the UK is 23rd in reading; and Finland is 12th and the UK is 26th in maths."

Finland is now hoping to share what works in its schools with other countries.

However, here in Ireland, homework is still a thing – and the bane of so many children – and parents' – lives.

But the debate has definitively started, and last week, even Michael D. Higgins seemed to weigh in, when he was interviewed by children, and revealed that he reckons school activities should be left at the school gate.

President Higgins argues that banning homework would make time for young people to engage in more creative pursuits outside school hours.

The former Arts Minister was speaking to RTE’s news2day current affairs and news programme for children on the occasion of the programme’s 20th birthday.

'Children Should Be Able To Use Their Time For Other Creative Things”

When asked what his opinion of homework, President Higgins said: “I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things.”

To mark the show’s two decades on air, students from St Kevin’s National School in County Tipperary put questions from RTÉ news2day viewers to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.

In a wide-ranging interview, the children asked the President questions like: What was your favourite sport when you were in school? When you were nine years old what did you want to be? And when did you decide you wanted to be President?

The students also asked the President about his dogs, his official trips abroad, his favourite subject in school, differences between now and when he was a child and his favourite book. The President also spoke to the children about his love of handball and the importance of friendship in their lives.

A Message To The Children Of Ireland

In a message to the children of Ireland, President Michael D. Higgins gave this advice:

"Stay curious about everything and I think it's important to make sure you don't miss the joy of sharing information.

"I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong.

"And we will all do individual things… but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important.

"And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same.

"We're all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us."

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Schoolchildren and parents urge minister to introduce homework ban

Schoolchildren and parents urge minister to introduce homework ban

The Department of Education told the letter writers that homework policy was not within its powers. File picture: PA

Schoolchildren and parents have pleaded with Education Minister Norma Foley to step in and introduce a homework ban.

In letters to the minister, children wrote about how they were being forced to give up hobbies because they were given so much work to do after school.

The correspondence followed comments by President Michael D Higgins in January that a ban on homework should be considered.

In one letter, a child wrote about how seven hours of school each day was “plenty of education”.

“I do not ask for homework to be completely banned but for it to be reduced to a certain limit. 

Otherwise, if there is a constant build-up of homework daily, it can cause stress and even a lack of exercise which will affect a person’s well-being.

Another wrote: “Kids should be doing more creative things with their time after school. Many kids have had to stop doing hobbies because of it." 

One handwritten letter, decorated with a Minnie Mouse bow, said homework was “annoying for teachers and pupils”.

“I play soccer and love writing stories, but because of homework, I have no time for doing these things. For teachers, it gives them more copies to correct and they have to go through the trouble of deciding what homework to give.” 

A secondary school student said that if “sleeping isn’t for school” then “work isn’t for home”.

“When I would finish homework, there would be barely any time for me to relax before I had to go to bed to get enough sleep to get up in the morning,” said their letter.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, our president Michael D Higgins also thinks that homework should be banned so if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to our President.” 

What's your view on this issue?

You can tell us here

A single parent also wrote in to explain how one of their children was getting two hours of written homework every day.

They said: “We need time to teach them life skills such as sewing, cooking, how to work the washing machine, change their own bed sheets, and personal care.

“These teachings are very hard for parents with zero time left in the evenings. There is no time for them to spend with siblings and parents because they are so tired.” 

Department response

In response, the Department of Education told the letter writers that homework policy was not within its powers.

In emails, the department said: "It is a matter for each school, at local level, to arrive at its own homework policy.

“In keeping with good practice, the process of drafting a homework policy should involve consultation with teachers, parents, and students.

“However, the department does acknowledge that homework can play an important part in helping pupils prepare for forthcoming class work and in reinforcing work already covered during class time.”

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President of Ireland calls for homework to be banned

 President of Ireland Michael D Higgins.

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins. (Source: Getty)

The President of Ireland has made his thoughts known about homework, saying it should be left at the gate and children should be able to use their leisure time for "creative things".

Speaking to RTE’s news2day - a current affairs and news programme for children, Michael D Higgins answered questions on a wide range of topics, the Irish Mirror reports .

When pressed on his views about homework Higgins said: “I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things.”

Higgins, a former arts minister, told children “to stay curious about everything and I think it’s important to make sure you don’t miss the joy of sharing information.

“And I think an important thing is friendship and to make sure that there’s no one left without friendship and that people belong. And we will all do individual things... but I think friendships that you make will in fact always be great memories and that is so important.

“And also have the courage to stand your own ground and let other children be allowed the space of standing their ground too because none of us are the same.

“We’re all unique but at the same time we have a lot going for us.”

Higgins also encouraged the children of Ireland to speak the Irish language.

While the role of president in Ireland is mainly a ceremonial one, it does have some sway over how the government operates.

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South Africa attack coach Tony Brown

RTÉ Sport Journalist

Given Ireland's history with Tony Brown, the first half of the 27-20 defeat to South Africa last Saturday shouldn't have come as much of a shock.

The New Zealander had been attack coach to Japan when they beat Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as the Brave Blossoms produced a stunning attacking display to pull off one of the biggest shocks in the history of the tournament.

Now working under Rassie Erasmus at the Springboks, Brown is looking to expand the gameplan of the world champions which, if successful, could spell trouble for a lot of countries in four years' time.

It's very early days in this World Cup cycle, but the first signs of a more open and expansive Springbok attack were evident in Saturday's first Test.

All week, Ireland's players and coaches insisted they had been doing their homework on what to expect from the South African attack, based on the Boks' previous game against Wales last month. However, Andy Farrell was left frustrated by his side's passive defending in the first half, which gave up a try inside three minutes to Kurt-Lee Arendse.

And Brown says his team's wide-wide strategy had been devised with Ireland's commitment to disrupting the ruck in mind.

"We always plan the attack around the teams that we're playing, so we've put a lot of time and effort into analysing Ireland around how they defend, how they attack the breakdown, so we saw a few opportunities," he said this afternoon.

"Ultimately, we always look to plan around the team we're playing."

ban of homework in ireland

For such a plan to work, a team has to have the cattle around the pitch to win their own breakdown, particularly in the face of an Irish pack that have established ball-winners like Tadhg Beirne, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Peter O'Mahony.

Fortunately for South Africa, they have that in abundance, both in terms of their work in open play and at the setpiece.

"Our attack only works if the forwards are good. They need to be able to get gainline for us and carry the ball, pass, clean out. They've got so many demands on them.

"It's been nice to keep challenging them to be able to move the ball and hopefully we're going to continue to get better through the year."

While Ireland only conceded one try in that first half, they were forced to scramble in defence on multiple occasions, and only for an excellent choke tackle by Jack Crowley, Cheslin Kolbe could have been in for a second Boks try after some more fast ball to the wings put Pieter-Steph du Toit into space.

Siya Kolisi also caused Ireland real issues with his carrying, exemplified by how he bounced Robbie Henshaw early in the game (below).

ban of homework in ireland

And Brown is excited by what South Africa can do when they get their back row players into possession in the wider channels.

"Obviously, the South African team have some outstanding loose forwards, it's not a new or different tactic, other teams do the same. It's more around getting the best out of the players we have out there.

"Pieter-Steph and Siya have got amazing skillsets. They're big players, pretty dynamic with ball in hand so it's around giving them the license and freedom to do what they do well and the rest of the team complementing that."

South Africa's attack didn't pick apart as many holes in the Irish defence in the second half, with the introduction of Garry Ringrose at half time, as well as some harsh words from Farrell, putting a bit more life in the Irish line.

The Springboks showed they can win more than one way though, and Kolbe's relentless hard work was rewarded when he took advantage of James Lowe's mistake on the touchline to score his team's second try, before the forwards sealed the deal late on with a penalty try as they marched Ireland back over their own line, to take a deserved lead in the series ahead of Saturday's meeting at King's Park in Durban (4pm).

ban of homework in ireland

"I don't think I've seen such a dominant scrum ever in the game of rugby then the penalty try. I know that with Japan, it was ball-in and ball-out as quick as you could.

"It's very nice to coach the South African team where the setpiece is quality, they're big men and they dominate the gainline. You can do a lot of good things on the rugby field if you've got speed and momentum.

"It was a really tough Test match, both teams were going pretty hard at the breakdowns and there was a lot of messy rugby. But the things we're trying to do on attack had some really good signs, especially in the first half where we created a lot of momentum and width and the boys were able to apply a lot of pressure and score a pretty good try early on.

"It's going to be fierce again, Ireland have traditionally been strong at the breakdown defensively. From an attacking point of view, we've got to be better.

"Ireland want to slow our ball down and disrupt our attack so we've got to make sure our breakdown is quality and our ball carry is quality," Brown added.

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Norma Foley won't debate homework with President Michael Higgins after his call for it to be banned

Minister Foley finally broke her silence on the matter last night when she told the Irish Mirror that she was not going to get into it with the President.

  • 06:00, 26 JAN 2023
  • Updated 09:54, 26 JAN 2023

Norma Foley

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Education Minister Norma Foley is refusing to debate the homework ban issue with Michael D Higgins after the President called for schoolwork outside of school hours to be scrapped.

Instead, she said it is up to schools to decide homework policy, which is at odds with the President’s call for schoolwork to be left at the school gate.

The controversial comments, made on RTE’s news2day children’s news programme, have had the country’s students, teachers and parents debating the issue since the remarks were made last Friday by the President.

READ MORE: Met Eireann verdict on Ireland ‘Polar Vortex’ fears as weather phenomenon could trigger big freeze

She said: “It would not be appropriate for a Government Minister to engage in public debate with the office of the President.

“Currently schools are free to have their own policy on homework and these policies are created in conjunction with senior management and staff, the boards of management, parents and the pupils.

“Schools are in of themselves places where creative pursuits are cultivated, nurtured and encouraged and that creativity may also be reflected in homework.”

Meanwhile, a Government Minister has said that it is “important” to include children in discussions about homework policies in schools.

It comes days after President Higgins’ call for homework to be banned at home and for all work to stay in the classroom.

Irish Mirror readers were also overwhelmingly in favour of banning homework, with 98% of our readers in favour.

In a landslide decision, 57,440 readers voted yes, while just 1,211 voted no.

In an interview with RTÉ’s news2day, President Higgins said that he believed that time at home should be spent doing more creative activities,

He said: “I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in the school is an educational experience and it should get finished at the school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things."

Minister Foley recently said that her Department does “not issue any guidelines relating to homework being given in schools.

“It is a matter for each school, at local level, to arrive at its own homework policy”.

It followed a question from Fine Gael Minister of State Neale Richmond who asked if research has been carried out by her Department into the benefits of ending the provision of homework for primary school pupils.

He told the Irish Mirror that children should be involved in conversations about their schools homework policy.

Minister Richmond said: “I submitted the Parliamentary Question following a visit to one of my local primary schools.

“The pupils were genuinely interested in the policy relating to homework going forward and I agreed it’s an important discussion to involve pupils in.”

Minister Foley told her Government colleague that the Department of Education has not commissioned research on the matter.

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Former Marsh Ireland broker banned from senior finance roles

Central bank of ireland investigation related to ‘unauthorised creation and modification of insurance documentation’.

ban of homework in ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland fitness and probity investigation related to 'unauthorised creation and modification of insurance documentation'. Photograph: Alan Betson

Former Marsh Ireland insurance broker Liam Heffernan has been banned by the Central Bank of Ireland from carrying out senior roles in regulated financial firms, after an investigation into matters during his time with the company including “unauthorised creation and modification” of insurance documents.

Mr Heffernan, with an address on the South Circular Road in Dublin 8, declined to comment when The Irish Times reached him at his current place of employment with a big engineering company.

A spokesman for law firm Fieldfisher, which represented Mr Heffernan as he resisted the regulatory ban, also declined to comment.

A central bank spokeswoman refused to comment beyond a statement published on its website this week, which named Mr Heffernan but did not identify the brokerage where he had previously been employed.

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‘When we first moved into our house, we ordered a custom-made bed for €4,800. Pure luxury’

‘When we first moved into our house, we ordered a custom-made bed for €4,800. Pure luxury’

However multiple sources have confirmed that the regulatory investigation related to Mr Heffernan’s time with Marsh Ireland, which came to an end in 2018.

A spokesman for Marsh Ireland declined to comment. However, the firm said in September, 2018, when it first emerged it had identified and reported irregularities on a “limited number of corporate client accounts handled by a former employee” to the central bank, that it conducts business “to the highest ethical and professional standards” and does not tolerate behaviour that deviates from these.

The central bank said its fitness and probity investigation related to “matters that arise in the context of his employment at an insurance broker, including the unauthorised creation and modification of insurance documentation”.

A prohibition notice was issued to Mr Heffernan after its investigation, banning him from carrying out any controlled functions in any regulated service provider “for an indefinite period”.

The central bank first petitioned the High Court to rubber stamp the prohibition in December 2021, according to court filings. Several affidavits were filed by parties involved in the case over the past 2½ years before it was settled on Tuesday.

“Persons performing controlled functions must act in accordance with the applicable standards of fitness and probity,” said Seána Cunningham, director of enforcement and anti-money laundering at the central bank.

“Where an individual is suspected to have failed to meet these standards, the Central Bank may use its statutory powers to investigate. If warranted, the central bank will prohibit an individual from performing controlled functions in order to uphold public trust and confidence in the financial system and protect users of financial services.”

Marsh, part of the New York-headquartered Marsh McLennon group, is the world’s largest insurance broker and risk adviser. Other arms of the wider group include Mercer, the pensions advisory company, management consulting business Oliver Wyman and the Guy Carpenter risk and reinsurance specialist.

The latest set of financial accounts filed by Marsh Ireland Brokers Limited with the Companies Registration Office show that the company posted a €23.2 million pretax profit in 2022 on client service revenues of €94.6 million. That was up from a €15.7 million that was delivered on turnover of €80.6 million for the previous year.

Almost 70 per cent of the revenue was generated in 2022 in the Republic, with the remainder spread across the rest of Europe, including the UK.

The central bank’s fitness and probity regime was introduced in 2010 under reforms in the wake of the financial crisis, to ensure that individuals in key and customer-facing positions “are competent and capable, honest, ethical and of integrity and also financially sound”.

This allows the regulator to vet individuals nominated by firms for senior positions, but also to investigate people in such roles when it suspects they fall short of required standards.

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Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times

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  3. Petition · Ban homework for all schools in ireland

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  4. Petition · End homework for primary school children

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  5. President Of Ireland Suggests Homework Should Be Banned

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  6. Two primary school principals debate a homework ban : r/ireland

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  1. President Higgins calls for homework to be banned in Ireland

    President Michael D Higgins (Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire) President Michal D Higgins has called for homework to be banned. The country's favourite leader has given hope to a new generation of ...

  2. President Michael D Higgins says homework should be banned in Ireland

    President Michael D Higgins has called for homework to be banned. ... In a message to the children of Ireland and the viewers of RTÉ news2day, President Michael D. Higgins gave this advice: "To ...

  3. President of Ireland calls on schools to stop giving pupils homework

    Schools should strive not to give pupils homework where possible, the president of Ireland has suggested.. In an utterance likely to be seized upon by children for years to come, in classrooms far ...

  4. Irish Mirror readers overwhelmingly back President's call for 'homework

    Read More: President Higgins calls for homework to be banned in Ireland. We asked "Should homework be banned?", which was answered with a 98% majority, Yes. In a landslide decision, 57,440 readers ...

  5. Two primary school principals debate a homework ban

    President Higgins has ignited a national conversation about homework. Simon Lewis, a primary school principal in Carlow, debates the issue with Chris Donnelly, a principal in Belfast.

  6. President Of Ireland Suggests Homework Should Be Banned

    Kids — and certain presidents. In an impassioned plea to the people of his nation, President Michael D. Higgins has called for a ban on homework across Ireland. And if small children were given ...

  7. President Michael D Higgins has suggested homework should be done in

    Mr Higgins weighed on the homework debate while speaking to pupils from St Kevin's National School, Littleton, Co Tipperary on a special, 20th anniversary, episode of RTÉ's news2day programme.

  8. President Michael D Higgins calls for school homework to be scrapped

    President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has said he supports the scrapping of homework. He addressed students of St Kevin's National School, Littleton, Co Tipperary, this week in an episode of RTE's news2day programme.

  9. President tells children of Ireland what he really thinks about homework

    President Michael D Higgins has called for homework to be banned.. End of homework . Higgins has suggested that school activities should end at the school gates.. A smile is likely to have cross ...

  10. Irish president says schools should avoid assigning children homework

    Ireland's president has suggested that schools should avoid assigning children homework, leaving school at the gates. Michael D Higgins shared his beliefs on the matter during a sit down with ...

  11. Students and parents plead case for homework ban

    13/03/2023 | 14:32 PM. Ken Foxe. School children and parents pleaded with the Minister for Education Norma Foley to step in and introduce a homework ban. In letters to the minister, kids wrote ...

  12. President of Ireland calls for ban on school homework

    President of Ireland calls for ban on school homework - should all forms of school work stay in school? He has said that it would make time for young people to engage in more creative pursuits.

  13. Call for children to be 'involved' in discussions around homework

    READ MORE:President Michael D Higgins calls for homework to be banned in Ireland. In an interview with RTÉ's News2Day, President Higgins said that he believed that time at home should be spent ...

  14. 'Why I believe homework should be banned', by one primary school student

    The Green Party in Ireland has promised to explore the banning of homework for primary school children. They also vow to review primary and secondary schools curriculum "to meet the needs of the ...

  15. Why homework has merit and can be a force for good

    This line of thinking also misses the whole purpose of home-based assignments. Homework is an important bridge between school and the home. It allows parents to be part of a child's educational ...

  16. Michael D. Higgins Wants Homework In Primary School To Be Banned

    However, here in Ireland, homework is still a thing - and the bane of so many children - and parents' - lives. But the debate has definitively started, and last week, even Michael D. Higgins seemed to weigh in, when he was interviewed by children, and revealed that he reckons school activities should be left at the school gate.

  17. Schoolchildren and parents urge minister to introduce homework ban

    Schoolchildren and parents urge minister to introduce homework ban. IN FOCUS: Elections 2024. Immigration. Bruce Springsteen. Israel-Hamas War. Dear Dáithí. ieExplains. ieVideo.

  18. Why do parents allow children to continue doing homework when they can

    Homework is back with a bang, bringing with it the familiar sense of dread for children and parents alike. It encroaches on precious and limited family time and it can establish an unhealthy work ...

  19. President of Ireland calls for homework to be banned

    The President of Ireland has made his thoughts known about homework, saying it should be left at the gate and children should be able to use their leisure time for "creative things". Speaking to RTE's news2day - a current affairs and news programme for children, Michael D Higgins answered questions on a wide range of topics, the Irish Mirror ...

  20. Taoiseach admits children get too much homework but doesn't support ban

    In a recent survey, Irish Mirror readers were also overwhelmingly in favour of banning homework, with 98% of our readers in favour. In a landslide decision, 57,440 readers voted yes, while just ...

  21. Anyone know when homework ban will take effect? : r/ireland

    The President of Ireland has almost no power, unlike the Presidents of some other countries such as the United States. There is no proposal to ban homework in Ireland, and the likelihood of homework being banned before anyone that's currently in secondary school finishes school is as close to zero as you'll get. Nose4Achoo • 10 mo. ago.

  22. Ban homework for all schools in ireland

    Why homework should be banned. Skip to main content. Start a petition. My petitions. Browse. Subscription. Petition details. Comments. Ban homework for all schools in ireland. Ban homework for all schools in ireland. Started. 23 January 2023. Signatures: 62 Next Goal: 100. 62. 100. Signatures. Next Goal. Support now.

  23. Brown: South Africa had done their homework on Ireland

    Given Ireland's history with Tony Brown, the first half of the 27-20 defeat to South Africa last Saturday shouldn't have come as much of a shock.. The New Zealander had been attack coach to Japan ...

  24. Norma Foley won't debate homework with President Michael Higgins after

    Irish Mirror readers were also overwhelmingly in favour of banning homework, with 98% of our readers in favour. In a landslide decision, 57,440 readers voted yes, while just 1,211 voted no.

  25. Former Marsh Ireland broker banned from senior finance roles

    The latest set of financial accounts filed by Marsh Ireland Brokers Limited with the Companies Registration Office show that the company posted a €23.2 million pretax profit in 2022 on client ...