If anyone thought today’s Northern Ireland Executive meeting would resolve the impasse on the transfer of pupils to post-primary schools, although I don’t believe anyone actually did, they were proved wrong. This BBC report includes a short on-air interview with the Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitriona Ruane, openly briefing against her Executive colleagues – “It is disappointing that colleagues who claimed that they wanted a discussion on the proposals didn’t even engage. What happened today was an attempt to frustrate change.” It also quotes the out-going First Minister, the DUP’s Ian Paisley Snr.
Mr Paisley said: “The education minister can make any suggestion she wants to. However, it will not come into force until she has the support of the DUP and the endorsement of the executive. “This is now a matter for the executive to deliberate and to decide upon. “We supported a proposal for a sub-committee of the executive to deal with this – this was rejected by Sinn Fein. “We supported a proposal by Margaret Ritchie that the executive as a whole would discuss the issue of post-primary education – this was rejected by Sinn Fein. This is an entirely unacceptable position.”
And, according to the RTÉ report – “Dr Paisley also said the minister’s plan did ‘not form a basis for moving forward’.” More here – First Minister Dr Paisley said it was a sad day for Northern Ireland. The Minister for Educations proposals, as currently framed, are totally unacceptable and do not form a basis for moving forward.”