© 2016 Educational Studies Association of Ireland. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Irish primary teachers, and particularly those working in disadvantaged schools, are coming under increasing pressure to orient their practices towards satisfying the exigencies of accountability and performativity (Conway, P. F., and R. Murphy. 2013. “A Rising Tide Meets a Perfect Storm: New Accountabilities in Teaching and Teacher Education in Ireland.” Irish Educational Studies 32 (1): 11–36. doi:10.1080/03323315.2013.773227). Focusing specifically on early career teachers (ECTs) in Irish designated disadvantaged primary schools, this paper investigates ECTs’ engagement with discourses of accountability and performance and its influence on their daily practices. Semi-structured, life-history interviews were conducted with 18 participants drawn from three urban designated disadvantaged schools. Local conditions (level of disadvantage, the intensity and concentration of students’ needs, and school culture), as well as participants’ career stage, impacted upon the way ECTs engaged with, and/or mediated the influence of the strong, neoliberal performativity discourse. Participants’ engagement with the literacy and numeracy standardised testing process was characterised by relationships of surveillance which were held in tension with contradictory and conflicting relationships of assurance and recognition that the DEIS literacy and numeracy programmes and positive standardised test scores fostered. The findings indicate that the nature of these relationships, coupled with the demanding social context in which they begin their careers, is orienting ECTs towards the use of more structured and control oriented pedagogies.