Ruane’s progress

Pete mentioned the education minister’s plans on post primary education being cost neutral. Catriona Ruane has, however, been having a number of problems of late. She has of course as noted above scrapped the 11 plus and will not be funding it. She is also worried that allocating places to children from Northern Ireland ahead of those in the Republic could be contrary to EU law.Unfortunately we have now discovered that both these issues are actually nonsense. It was some time ago that myself and others noted that the minister’s statement carefully avoided ruling out funding for schools which retained selection. Now it seems that what was suspected has been confirmed. It seems the only change may be that Ruane will not fund the tests. I suppose if little or nothing changes the costs might be neutral after all.

Her concern regarding EU law and the right of a school to offer a place to a child from Northern Ireland ahead of one from the Republic of Ireland is also nonsense. It appears the EU law Ms. Ruane is citing actually regards not discriminating against people of a different nationality resident in a given jurisdiction and as such is not relevant to the issue at hand. Sammy Wilson to his credit has pointed out that pupils from the Republic of Ireland attending a school in Northern Ireland would be no problem provided the school had places and the RoI government paid for the pupil. Of course with so little grasp on the concept of finances it is unlikely that Ms. Ruane has thought of this.

Still maybe she will manage to find a way to make a 360 degree turn on that issue as well. Whilst one can complain about most of the ministers in the current executive; Ms. Ruane seems the most spectacularly incompetent and in an executive with the likes of McGimpsey that really is quite an achievement.