Education, edukation, edukashun…

In September 2008 the outrageously liberal approach of the then principal of St Colm’s High School Twinbrook, west Belfast, prompted this rebuke from a local Sinn Féin councillor

“The principal should not have under any guise invited the British Army into her school. “The British Army is in occupation of part of this country.”

Clearly a process of re-programming re-education was required for the traumatised pupils.  That can now be seen to have been heralded by the then Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Fein’s Caitriona Ruane, when she used an official ministerial visit to the school three months later, December 2008, to tell the assembled pupils and staff that “people should be thankful to Bobby Sands for paving the way towards a better future”.  [Sinn Féin should be grateful! – Ed]  Indeed.

For the latest lesson in that re-education, as Jim Gibney ‘reported’ for An Phoblacht this week, Sinn Féin turned up at the school mob-handed to ensure the visit was properly seen as a party political event – despite the applied cover of the “recently-formed group of local business people”.  Led by the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, wearing one of his other hats, the party presented the “Bobby Sands Gaeltacht Scholarships” to two selected pupils.  [Value unknown? – Ed]  Priceless…  And they posed for photographs with the current school principal.

For those who didn’t pay sufficient attention in class, visual cues are on the streets.  Such as the new paramilitary mural in west Belfast.  According to Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan, “It is part of a larger piece of work being done in the area…”

As Newton Emerson notes in today’s Irish News

There was outrage from some parents in 2008 when Sinn Féin minister Caitriona Ruane praised Bobby Sands as a role model for children during a prize day speech at st Colm’s High School in Twinbrook.  But that was then.  There was no sign of outrage this week after Martin McGuinness presented St Colm’s pupils with “Bobby Sands Gaeltacht Scholarships”, described by An Phoblacht as “a joint initiative taken by Colin Sinn Fein and a recently-formed group of local business people”.  In west Belfast at least, it seems Sinn Féin has now normalised the lauding of the Provisional IRA in Catholic schools.  Ethos adds value, as they say at the CCMS.

[The re-education continues! – Ed]  Meanwhile, a more direct message to others is still getting delivered in rural constituencies.  And other others have been charged after attempting to ensure “the future” of the struggle…

Adds  For the record, the previous principal at St Colm’s, Imelda Jordan, who was in place back in 2008, retired at the end of last year (August 2013) [pdf file].