A new Leaving Certificate climate action and sustainable development subject which is set to be rolled out, for fifth- and sixth-year secondary school students from 2024 must be “taught objectively” with “clear, accurate and trustworthy” information, says IFA farm family committee chair Alice Doyle.

Doyle, a former primary school principal, is leading IFA efforts to ensure farmers aren’t “vilified” in the content, teaching and examination of the new Leaving Cert subject.

Minister for Education Norma Foley announced the development of the new climate action subject in March after a National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) review recommended that the senior cycle should “help young people as they enter an adulthood where global challenges such as sustainability and climate change can have very local and personal impacts”.

‘Emotive subject’

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Doyle said the IFA has sent a letter to the NCCA to engage on the matter and express the IFA’s view of a need for “balance”

While welcoming the subject’s introduction, the Wexford farmer said: “It is very important that the NCCA are clear when setting learning outcomes and teaching guidelines for this new subject. There’s no room for personal opinions from teachers who are pro- or anti-climate.”


“We know climate action is an emotive subject but the emotion must be taken out of it. We must give factual information to our students and it is up to them to interpret it.”

Doyle said that her “biggest worry” is that the farming point of view will be sidelined if the subject is overly influenced by an anti-farming lobby.

She said ensuring this doesn’t happen will be high on the IFA farm family committee’s agenda.