Quotes of the year in education: ‘The boys that did the honours maths led us to ruination’

Warnings against ‘self-satisfaction’ at Trinity and a Blackrock College war cry were among the other memorable quotes of 2014

Sheila Nunan of INTO speaking at the union’s annual conference at Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny. Photograph: Pat Moore

"I trust you as our teachers to act professionally and assess your own students without fear or favour to anybody . . . It begs the question: does your union have less faith in the professional capacity of you as teachers than I do?" Ruairí Quinn (right) lobs a verbal grenade into the ASTI conference

"That is disgraceful. How dare you?" ASTI delegate Andrew Phelan, aka "Megaphone Man", responds from the floor

"Let me tell you, the boys that did the honours maths led this country to ruination." INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan (below) responds to Ruairí Quinn's clumsy remarks about maths qualifications in a 'highly feminised' teaching profession

"The challenging landscape of today's third-level education arena has led to a diminishing of the college's reserves to an unsustainable level." All Hallows College, announcing its planned closure after 172 years


"If your first concern is the wellbeing of children then you've got to try to structure the system so children have an equal chance, to some extent, of quality." Prof John Coolahan warning against the continuing proliferation of small schools

"A 2.1 in one university would not equate to a 2.1 in another university." Paddy Cosgrave, HEA board member and founder of The Summit web company, announcing that his firm will only accept interns who have got a first, with the exception of Trinity graduates, where a 2.1 would be allowed

"There is big complacency here that people know about Trinity College Dublin around the world. This is not the case so don't be self-satisfied about this." TCD provost Dr Paddy Prendergast addressing a 'town hall' meeting of academics and staff over a planned rebranding for the university. It was quietly shelved a few months later

"Anything that potentially threatens the tradition where brothers and sons of past students can follow in the footsteps of their brothers and fathers through Blackrock College is a threat to that which many of us hold so dear." Shane Murphy SC, barrister and president of the Dublin fee-paying school's past pupils' union issuing a war-cry to fellow 'Rockmen' against the Admissions Bill

"After two years, when it comes to the point where we don't believe we are being listened to, in a democracy we have the right to withdraw our labour and to make our position plain." ASTI president Philip Irwin on the December 2nd strike day

"I do think the strike is unnecessary. I do think it's disproportionate and I think it's disappointing that the schools are closed today." Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan