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Coursework dumped on the bog road

Psst, anyone want to buy some exam coursework, brand new, never looked at? If you're accosted by somebody with a bundle of papers and suspect they have fallen off the back of a lorry, that's exactly what happened, according to the Irish Department of Education.

Irish police are investigating the strange sequence of events that led to a Co Roscommon farmer finding Leaving Certificate engineering coursework from a school in Co Wexford, south of Dublin, at the side of a bog road.

It had been sent by Kilmuckridge Community School to the department's exams branch in the mid-Ireland town of Athlone on May 3 by the Fastrack service of the Irish state railway. A contractor had taken it from the station to the centre, where it was apparently signed for.

But the department believes the parcel was not unloaded from the contractor's truck and eventually fell off the vehicle at the village of Ballymurray, 17 miles away.

Joe Fallon, a local farmer, found it and handed it in to a local post office, which forwarded it to the department.

With a delightful sense of understatement, the school principal, Diarmuid O'Hanlon, said he was "not satisfied" with the way the parcel had made its way to the exams branch.

The Government has not yet published the results of an investigation into an even more serious incident last year when artwork from 30 schools went missing and the Opposition has demanded an explanation from the Education Minister, Niamh Breathnach.

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