Pupils had to resit English and maths after theft 40 years ago


SECURITY BREACHES:THIS YEAR’S Leaving Certificate students may be feeling hard done by this morning, but spare a thought for their counterparts in 1969.

Those unfortunate students had to take their English and maths exams twice after papers were stolen from a Dublin secondary school. An almost complete set of Leaving Certificate papers was stolen from De La Salle School, Churchtown, on June 12th, 1969.

Although there was no such thing as twittering at the time, the papers made their way into other students’ hands at a rapid pace. They were sold for between £1 and £20 by the thieves to students at monied schools all over Dublin.

It was estimated that at least 250 students had seen the papers before the matter came to the attention of the authorities.

The only thing the principal at De La Salle school could tell The Irish Timeswhen questioned about the theft was that he was “absolutely certain” that none of the boys from his school had anything to do with it.

The fallout from the leaks following the theft meant that supplemental papers had to be written for all examinations, causing a delay in the middle of the timetable, while English and maths had to be retaken.

Students were hauled in to examination halls throughout the country on Friday, June 27th, and Saturday, June 28th.

The National University matriculation exams had to be postponed because of the late completion of the Leaving Certificate. Then-taoiseach Jack Lynch told Cork students the results of their first papers would be kept and compared with their performance in the substitute papers. He also suggested that examination papers be kept in a local bank. Four people were later charged with theft.