Further to Pete’s post yesterday, it is worth noting Sammy Wilson’s (DUP Chair of the Education Committee) scathing remarks on the Minister’s performance yesterday:
The Minister was only willing to meet with the Committee for an hour, and she spent almost half of that time reading a pre prepared statement. She also read it in Irish, obviously trying to draw it out as long as possible so that she wouldn?t have to face the committee and answer the questions that they had.
As we’ve noted on Slugger before, Ms Ruane has landed the toughest and most complex brief of all her party colleagues. Possibly even of the whole Executive. But Slugger understands that relations within the department are strained. Apparently senior civil servants were not informed of the content of her one major announcement of her tenure in office so far: the timetable for the abolition of the 11+ examination and the raising of the transfer age to 14.
The removal of the Ministerial office from departmental headquarters in Bangor by her predecessor Martin McGuinness certainly hasn’t helped matters. Slugger understands that one recent request to speak to her private secretary ended up being routed to her constituency office. Such organisational malfunctions can only add to an already difficult job.
At the heel of the hunt, Ms Ruane’s often brittle response to criticism from political opponents cannot obscure the fact that, so far, she is simply not delivering the goods.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty