What on earth was that about…

Paul Butler believes that some figures in the mainstream media have been agitating to get rid of Catriona Ruane as Education minister. Well certainly Alex Kane did not pull any punches in the Newsletter this week:

How thoroughly, fundamentally, demonstrably and serially incompetent must a Minister be before Executive colleagues, departmental committee members and MLAs collectively, round upon them and hound them from office? I only ask, because Caitriona Ruane—whose level of ineptitude appears to be incalculable—remains in a job at which she has proved herself utterly unsuitable. And it’s not just the fact that the scale of her uselessness is of epic proportions; it’s also the fact that every question or criticism is greeted with an arrogant disdain or a patronising putdown.

At the same time Kane is hardly a mainstream media figure. At the news, as opposed to the comment end of the industry, the party put on an extremely bizarre show at Stormont today when it called a number very senior members of the local press corps to tell them, well, that she had finally finished her consultation and would be announcing it on the 15th. The irritation and bemusement was obvious amongst some.

What does not seem to have dawned on the Minister or her party is that its credibility on this issue is diminishing week by week. Last Thursday John O’Dowd told The Politics Show that the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe had pulled the Catholic Grammar’s back into line and that the vast majority of Northern Ireland schools would back the Minister’s proposals. The Minister herself was confident that the schools were behind her.

Then as Fair Deal reports today, 2/3 of school principals have no confidence in the Minister. Nearly half of Catholic school heads don’t either.

There is no doubt the minister has been under the cosh from the outset. But this is final proof that there is considerable unease within the system about the way she has handled her brief. Mr Butler’s defence, ie that “some of these want to protect the privileges they gained through the old system; and others are political opponents being entirely opportunistic. We want this process of change to be as smooth as possible but equally, we are prepared for a battle.”

Sinn Fein is right to look for fights. They are a political party with a point to prove to their own base. But let’s be clear. This is not a fight with the media. It is also with the very people who’s good will is crucial to carrying forward the reforms his party believe are so crucial for the future wellbeing of education in Northern Ireland.

Furthermore, it is not a fight they can convincingly win….

  • willis

    Well this particular piece of nonsense makes Paul Butler’s case quite well.


    “Pressure was mounting on Caitriona Ruane today to resign as Education Minister.

    The results of a Belfast Telegraph survey reveal that she has lost the support of the majority of her cross-party scrutiny committee.

    The Telegraph asked each of the Assembly’s 11 education committee members if they have confidence in the Minister and, secondly, if they thought she should resign.”

    Well that is surely scientific

    Let me see at a guess

    DUP and UUP think she should go

    Sinn Fein think she should stay

    SDLP and Alliance sit on the fence.


    Alliance actually get off the fence alongside Sinn Fein

    Hold the Front Page

    Kathryn Torney in stereotyping shock!


    Belfast Telegraph Education Correspondent polls various celebs about Ruane:

    Julian Symonds put on the spot. The future of the wee children is in your hands.

  • Democrat

    Ms. Ruane is a total and dismal failure. She is not alone in that, the whole Assembly and most of the Executive, are an affront to democratic politics. I find lot of them to be just one big joke, and I don’t care a whit what education system they came out of. They are an embarassment in any serious political circles. With the exception of a few; Ritchie, Robinson and to a lesser extend Mc Gimpsey and Dodds, the rest of them are like nothing I have ever seen anywhere.
    Incompetence all around, but what did we expect really?
    To find myself admiring mostly Unionist/SDLP MLAs is the most upsetting of all this. I am a Republican through and through.
    I attended the SF meeting in Galbally two weeks ago and I walked away knowing I would never again vote for Sinn Fein or anyone else for that matter. The audience was like a herd of sheep, not ONE difficult question was asked, the one controversial comment that was made was met with derision and contempt by Adams (PLEASE RETIRE) and McGuiness. Ruane, you are a good person, but please, GO! If not for the children whose lives you are going to ruin, at least for your political party, who will pay for this in the coming elections.

    I suspect like many many others here I will walk away from this and never vote again. We will become like all major western nations where our apathy will allow the ineptitude of government officials to continue.
    Sorry for rambling- I am so depressed by it all.