Mary O’Rourke describes her background and her schooling in Athlone. She graduated with a BA from UCD and then worked for some time in the family business in Athlone. She then returned to study, and get her HDip from NUI Maynooth, where she was part of the first student class in the college under the NUI status. She taught in the Convent of Mercy Athlone for a short time, until her introduction to her political career. In 1987, Taoiseach Charles Haughey appointed her Minister for Education, a post in which she remained for five years. There was much turbulence in the job at that time, mainly due to economic cutbacks. She recalls her private secretary David Gordon, whose support and guidance were invaluable to her. She discusses the proposals she brought to Cabinet while Minister for Education, and she explains the detail of the Universities Act, the Home School Liaison Link, the Teachers Act and The National Curriculum and Assessment Board.