A 'short, sharp' inquiry led by a judge or senior counsel is needed to look into this year's Leaving Cert 'debacle', according to the Labour Party.
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said such an investigation could, by Christmas, answer any remaining questions about the calculated grades process - and would help avoid any repeat of this year's errors.
It comes after over 6,000 students this weekend received at least one higher grade after coding errors were discovered in the calculated grading process.
A total of three errors have now been identified - although the third issue detailed yesterday is not said to have had any meaningful impact on results.
The CAO is now looking into whether any impacted students are due a higher preference choice for a third-level course.
Ministers have pledged to do all they can to ensure those students can start any course they're offered this year, although concerns remain about whether there will be sufficient space on some high-demand courses.
The Education Minister has also asked for an independent review of the calculated grades system once the process is complete.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin told On The Record the whole Leaving Cert process has been a 'bit of a mess' over the past six months, following the cancellation of the traditional written exams.
He said: “What we want is a non-statutory independent inquiry - perhaps a high court judge or senior counsel could do a piece of work over the next number of months, before Christmas, and ask the pertinent questions.
“Who made decisions to cancel the written Leaving Cert? Why were those decisions taking? Who decided [Canadian software firm] Polymetrika were the best group to go with? Why was there no procurement process?
“We want to be absolutely certain lessons can be learned so it is not repeated."
'Short, sharp investigation'
The Labour TD says he 'can only assume' a delay in the release of the results this summer was down to a 'major hitch' in the system when the school profiling element of grading was removed.
However, he said he could be wrong - and that's why an inquiry is needed.
He said: "I’m quite happy to be wrong on that, if a short, sharp investigation takes place and we learn who took the decisions and when.
“We feel an inquiry is the way to go.
"It can take all of these questions off to the side until we come up with answers in December, then that can be dealt with by the [Oireachtas] education committee.
“It may not come back to a situation where we can’t hold a written Leaving Cert in 2021, but if we do... we can have [a situation] that’s going to be an awful lot better to students than the debacle of this year."
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said he's received an "avalanche of messages" about the problems with calculated grading, and argued that the decision to cancel exams was a 'rushed' one.
He observed: “The magnitude of the decision to scrap the Leaving Cert wasn’t appreciated at the time. It goes back to how education has been treated during this pandemic."