“continue to have the interests of all of our pupils and parents at heart”

The principal of St Colm’s High School, Twinbrook, Imelda Jordan, has rejected the criticism from local Sinn Féin councillor Sam Baker [no relation] of the visit to the school by three Royal Navy officers, presumbaly from the Navy’s Royal Marines Visiblity Team, who took part in a team-building and leadership event – criticism which, I’d suggest, was the political equivalent of a scene pod scream from 1978 sci-fi paranoia classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. From the statement Cllr Sam Baker issued earlier today.

“I was approached last night by a number of parents of children who took part in an exercise with the British Army’s Royal Marines in St. Colms School last Monday. “The parents informed me they knew nothing about this secret visit by the British Army, a visit arranged by the school principal Imelda Jordan. “This morning I spoke with the school principal and I listened carefully to her explanation. Her excuse beggars belief and reflects a view which is totally out of touch with the experience of the people of Twinbrook who suffered at the hands of the British Army over the last thirty years. “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.”

On Talkback he went further suggesting the “wider community” should have been consulted first. And the school principal’s response from the BBC report – which has the visit taking place on Thursday.

[P]rincipal Imelda Jordan said pupils were aware of the planned visit. She said a number of external agencies attend the school to enhance students’ academic and personal experiences. “Having worked in this area for over 30 years, I have and will continue to have the interests of all of our pupils and parents at heart,” she said.

, , , , ,

  • Driftwood

    Not sure… but the Royal Marines are not actually part of the British Army. They are part of the Royal Navy. In which case Sam Baker is talking out of his arse.

    In what way have the people of Twinbrook suffered at the hands of the Royal Navy? (or the British Army).

  • The Raven

    “I was approached last night by a number of parents of children who took part in an exercise with the British Army’s Royal Marines in St. Colms School last Monday.”


    “I got between one and five phone calls, because as an elected representative (regardless of shade) I am wont to exaggeration”.

    “Her excuse beggars belief and reflects a view which is totally out of touch with the experience of the people of Twinbrook who suffered at the hands of the British Army over the last thirty years.”


    “I completely ignored the fact that over 750 jobs were lost in Northern Ireland yesterday, people are struggling to pay their mortgages, and for many over 65, it’s a choice between heat or eat. But none of that matters, because the British Army/Navy/Airforce is not a career choice for anyone”.

    Oh and before anyone gives off? Find me something similar by a politician of any other ilk, and I WILL translate it accordingly.


  • @Driftwood

    Indeed. The correct usage is of course “Crown Forces”. The good councillor should consult his outrage handbook again.

  • Shore Road Resident

    How is this different to the protests Martin McGuinness faced outside state schools when he became minister of education?
    One rule of tolerance for the Shinners and another for everyone else, apparently.

  • perry

    “In what way have the people of Twinbrook suffered at the hands of the Royal Navy?”

    40 tours of duty with 25 casualties (in and outside of NI) of which 11 were musicians at Deal.

    The writer of “Colonel Bogey” was Lieutenant F J Ricketts (1881-1945), a military bandmaster who was Director of Music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth.

    While he was in the Royal Irish during the “War of Independence” he was stationed at Charles Fort in Kinsale. He was captured by the IRA. As an officer he would normally have been executed but when they found out he was just a bandsman he was released.

    70 years or so later the provos were bombing music school students.

  • Brian Walker

    Driftwood, Just on a point of information. Marine commando did serve regularly in NI.

  • dunreavynomore

    sam walker’s concern that “the british army is in occupation of part of this country” verges on the comical as he and his party have signed up to an agreement which accepted this “occupation” or does he not understand just what he signed up to? sam, your party is sitting in stormont trying to make the ‘occupation’ work and believe that they can work it better than the unionists.

    Yes Brian, marine commandoes did serve here and served several tours in sth armagh where their behaviour won them no fans.

  • Driftwood

    Yes Brian, I know they were here, just pointing out that Royal Marine Commandos are not part of the British Army. It’s all a bit silly. Obviously the pupils at the school weren’t too shellshocked by the experience. Pupils from Catholic and state schools (primary and post primary) regularly go to adventure training days at Ballykinler.
    Councillor Bakers mock outrage is laughable. I think Twinbrook has more pressing problems regarding anti social behaviour etc that he could be dealing with.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Why wouldn’t parents be worried about ‘.. sinister older men and armchair generals trying to lure young people to join their shady organisations or even take part in an illegal war’? (That was a quote from the 70s and 80s. Remember?

  • If they can not get enough loyalist/unionists to make the ultimate sacrifice for britain then they certainly should not be allowed to infiltrate catholic schools to make up the numbers without the parents being informed of the planned incursion.What was the head teacher thinking?

  • If they can not get enough loyalist/unionists to make the ultimate sacrifice for britain then they certainly should not be allowed to infiltrate catholic schools to make up the numbers without the parents being informed of the planned incursion.What was the head teacher thinking?

  • Reader

    blinding: What was the head teacher thinking?
    The Head Teacher probably imagined she was in charge, not SF. And probably also believed that the children could make up their own minds about their careers once they were old enough, rather than having SF make the decision for them.

  • God wasn’t it ever such.
    A woman makes a sensible decision to do something within her mandate as a School Principal and the ‘not an inch’ brigade shout foul, entirely for reasons of local outrage (which may or may not exist ), of course.
    When will politicians grow a backbone in these islands and actually stand up and say that it is the right of Principals to decide who and what is coming into schools to educate the youth of the country.
    Underneath the knee-jerk reaction and the smoke mirrors of political debate (God I cannot really come to terms with suggesting that Political Debate exists in Northern Ireland since really that would involve something more than being paid, usually by the taxpayer, to shout party rhetoric from entrenched positions) there is actually a very worthwhile relationship developing between the Army in the RoI and units in Northern Ireland.
    This is entirely at the grassroots at the moment but a closer relationship between soldiers from both States on the island has to be a good thing.
    It is a relationship that is entirely dependant on being beyond the influence of politicians in order to succeed for they (the politicians) would do damage.
    An example. Some time ago the Irish Army was ready, in fact sitting on the plane ready to fly off to the biggest land training area that the British Army runs and shares with armies from all over the world, in Canada when the soldiers sitting on the plane were told to deplane as permission had been with drawn.
    Politicians and the media had been alerted to this joint operational training – a new departure in inter island solidarity for the the military but not one that had been through political don’t offend any politician or defend the Rising group from anywhere or your career trajectory is now shite brigade.
    The result was that the soldiers involved who were soon to be deployed into a serious situation were deprived of training that was necessary to their task and they went to it less well prepared than they could have been.
    Pressure counted and they trooped off the plane, angry and disappointed but somehow not shocked.
    The problem is that politicians are simply just out of touch with things that are really happening on the ground..
    Soldiers are soldiers and from NI and the RoI they have stories to tell and experiences to share and since the British Army is looking to accept 16% plus as recruits from RoI this year the military bond across the border is seamless.
    The Civil War politicians and those who have not yet smelled the coffee in the 21st Centy. are the ones on the outside.
    I have attended military events in the Republic as an invited ex-service guest from the British Army because the truth is that soldier talks to soldier and the happy thing is that Irish soldiers from both sides of the border share a common bond as Irish soldiers.
    RoI politicians have to grow up and catch up on the rest of the world.
    Their role should not be keeping everything as it was but leading forward and arguing against the pre-Neanderthals who want to keep everything in some sort of Partionist aspic.
    I dement for my NI homeland. Things here in Scotland are awful but nothing yet has plumbed the depths of the ocular dimness of NI politics so far.

  • Now that the loyalist/unionist parents have wised up and realised how stupid it is to allow their children to be sacrificed for Bush/blair/brown the army/navy are looking for new resources.For a head teacher to go along with the encouragement of children to be used as cannon fodder it shows a lack of understanding of how these vile politicians operate.The head teacher owes a duty of care to the parents of these children.She should be protecting the children from those that are willing to sacrifice their children for heir own ends.
    Let the unionists/loyalists allow their children be used by the lying,greedy and double dealing scumbag politicians.
    Would the people on here be so in favour of this if the IRA had been going in to schools to recruit in a far more justifiable war than what bush/blair/brown would waste our children on.
    In your opinions british wars are fine and dandy.
    Well go and fight them then just keep away from our children.

  • harry

    why is Sam complaining about the movement of one section of the crown forces, when his party fully endorses another section?? Dont bite the hand that feeds

  • heck

    what are these people doing visiting any school in Nor iron, catholic or protestant? I though part of the agreement was to “demilitarize” the sick counties , not to get the ira out of the way so the brits could recruit cannon fodder for honest tony’s criminal escapades in the middle east.

    where is all the outrage about “killers” “murders” ” criminals” “violence” the we see on slugger? Or is it really outrage about “fenians”?

    is it OK to bomb the heart out of a city in the middle east but not in omagh? It is ok to blow up iraqi troops but “murder” to blow up british troops? just read what these people are doing to iraqi citizens and ask what the hell a religious school is doing inviting them onto their campus.

    the main issue is that the catholic church has no objection to “violence” from the powerfull, their objection to to “violence” from the powerless.

  • You could not make it up.The unionists tell us that the time is not right for police and justice powers(you lot cannot be trusted with police and justice)By the way give us access to your children so that we can tell them how good the army and navy are.Our own stooges are just not up for dying and murdering for bush/brown/blair.We will try it on the nationalists maybe they might be foolish enough to fall for that auld guff as they have not had to listen to it for a while.
    A message to all people that love their families keeps these lowlifes away from your children or you may have a lifetime to regret that you allowed your children to be used by unscrupolous people for their own ends.We are all better educated today so why do people allow their children to be sacrificed without having any understanding of how low politicians and goverments will stoop when other peoples lives are at stake.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    IRA/Sinn Fein will be complaining about the RNLI next.

  • Hogan

    I assume Mr Baker has taken the matter up with party colleague Catriona Ruane?

    Not content with dictating how young people think by controlling the youth and community groups in their heartlands SF thought police now want direct control over the schools.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    A lot of school principals still live in the good old days when they were one of the three pillars of Irish society along with the priest and the doctor. Some of them are complete egomaniacs and forget that they are public servants and are answerable to their employers – us. Who knows what evil they will invite into the schools next?

  • latcheeco

    Mr. Baker is on a sticky wicket because his party have previously compromised themselves in Stormont.In for a penny in for a pound. The charming and otherwise pedagogically effective Ms. Jordan is I’m sure feeling fortunate that Charlie don’t surf in Twinbrook.

  • concrened

    Several Catholic Grammar Schools have taken part in these events over many years, I took part as a pupil of a Catholic Grammar School ten years ago. I found them extremely useful and undeniably skill enhancing. It gives me a lot to put on my CV! Not once was I or anyone else I have spoken to ever given the impression it was a recruitment exercise, in fact during the course of any event did any of the gentlemen/women mention their day to day jobs as members of these services. – I doubt it was any different for the pupils of St Colms despite the obvious lies printed.

    I believe that the exercise was for 6th year students so it is extremely sad that Sam Baker can not grace the pupils of St Colms with the intelligence that they have proved they possess.

    Have we not fought so that young Catholics have the same opportunities as other is Northern Ireland. How Ironic the individuals claiming to have helped achieve this are denying young Catholics the same opportunities that are available for pupils their age, both Catholic and Protestant throughout Northern Ireland just because they are from a certain area. Is that not discrimination!!! If the same event was organized as a cross community exercise elsewhere, taken by the same individuals in which several schools attended yet St Colms had not been invited – then we would have something to worry about.

    The only solace I can take amidst all of this is that thankfully the silly people who have posted comments sharing the opinion of Sam Baker are a minority of a forward thinking younger generation. I am deeply saddened that this minority can cause such an amount of attention.

    No one has, or ever will deny the atrocities that have occurred over the years. However the ignorance of individuals is nothing but detrimental to the same processes that they have signed up to. As far as I can see Sam Baker is simply abusing his power as a Sinn Fein Councilor and has created a band wagon for people of a similar ignorance level to jump upon yet who will suffer at the end of it all – the pupils.

    Blinding – as far as I can see, you’re away off in whole other rant of your own. Unionists? Cannon fodder? Have you asked the school for the facts? Again ignorance is bliss!!!

    A personal attack has been launched against the head teacher of a school who clearly puts her pupils interests first and who I have seen in the papers and in the news on several occasions with her students celebrating yet another set of ever improving examination results. Ms Jordan, I can only pray that when my children reach the age of attending secondary school that we are lucky enough to have someone like you providing them with the same commitment to their education.