“I presume the speech was not a single transferable one..”

It didn’t make it into the minsterial press release which accompanied Caitriona Ruane’s visit to St Colm’s High School Twinbrook yesterday, in her official capacity as Northern Ireland Education Minister, but BBC political editor Mark Devenport informs us that

During a lengthy speech she expressed sadness that the film about the Irish Civil War “The Wind That Shakes The Barley” had drawn criticism. Exhorting the pupils to do their best, she said people should be thankful to Bobby Sands for paving the way towards a better future for young people.

Fine. Again.. Adds SDLP Cllr Matthew McDermott was in the audience.

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  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Well Bobby paved the way to a world without him, which was a nett gain.

  • Reader

    Was this a political suicide note, before stepping aside for a replacement? Going out with the colours flying for a last hurrah, instead of some more humiliating exit on the grounds of, let’s say, incompetence.

  • Len Adoon

    One can understand why Sinn Fein trys to keep Ms Ruane under wraps so much and has John O’Dowd as the public face of the Education Department.

    Methinks the pressure has got to the poor soul and it us unkind of Mark Devenport to bring her ramblings to a wider audience.

    By the way was the wider community consulted about her visit to the school? I’d hate to see another spate of suspicious devices in the area.

  • DC

    Pete you couldn’t possibly be suggesting that the historical association of SF and republicans with Bobby Sands would be extremely party political and divisive if mentioned like this?

    Of course, whether intended to or not, it still has the effect of making one side of the community feel extremely uncomfortable with what was said.

    Motivate to divide against one another, surely not, this is Northern Ireland and aren’t we better than all of that.

  • Earnan

    What can mentioning bobby sands achieve? Nothing positive.

    Stop living in the past and bringing up divisive figures.

  • eranu

    disgusting that a minister would address school children and tell them to be thankful to a murdering terrorist. surely there must be some parents in twinbrook that dont want their kids corrupted in such a way? and i would have thought a Christian priest in the school would be able to recognise the wrongness of promoting evil such as murder?

  • DC

    …but are you not glad she’s getting on with the good work of ending Apartheid and all its works in the education system (stop sneering at the back)?

  • eranu

    what apartheid? do you mean removing the method of testing the academic ability of a child so that they can then prove their academic ability (by using their own brain) when applying for a secondary school? some secondary schools being a special type of secondary school that is geared towards academic kids. that apartheid?

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Maybe this is what Bobby died for? The freedom to achieve the freedom to talk absolute sh*te?

  • DC

    Yes that apartheid which actually isn’t apartheid as the apartheid as we know it.

  • picador

    Apparently an Ulster Unionist MLA was recently asked for his views on abortion during a school visit. He replied that he was against it but said that he might have a different view if his daughter was assailed by one of the increasing number of darkies that are running around.

  • good grief

    Aye, sure picador.

    Would he not have been too busy eating babies at the time to visit the school?

    ..ppffft.

  • Thing is Picador, Ruane actually did make the remarks attributed to her and your story is made up.

  • dunreavynomore

    I find it interesting that the good minister took so many years after the hunger strike to weigh up the pros and cons of joining s.f. She was hardly waiting for the shooting to stop, was she??

  • Interesting letter in the Telegraph yesterday, quoting Ms Ruane’s reason for refusing a primary school’s request for integrated status- too many “Brit” Brats in the area apparently.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    If it’s the case that “people should be thankful to Bobby Sands for paving the way towards a better future for young people”, then surely Caitriona should also thank his old mucker Denis Donaldson for paving the way for her career too…

  • Sarah Lavender

    “what apartheid? do you mean removing the method of testing the academic ability of a child so that they can then prove their academic ability (by using their own brain)”

    Don’t know about NI, but this is from the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7788039.stm) earlier today about England’s 11+ –

    “England’s 164 remaining grammar schools tend to be dominated by middle-class children, according to government indices, such as the number of children receiving free school meals.

    Research for the BBC suggests one reason might be because of the lengths many parents go to get their child to qualify for a place.

    The BBC commissioned NOP to question parents of grammar school children and 544 completed the questionnaire.

    Of these parents, 443 said they either paid professional tutors or coached their children themselves at home.

    Two hundred and fifty-seven had hired private tutors and spent an average £700 in fees. Many of the parents who responded also earned substantially more than average income.”

    So not so much about using their own brain as their parents’ wallets.

  • Even the most dim witted unionists should be able to see that the day Bobby Sands embarked on his hunger strike turned out to be a pivotable moment in the history of the six counties.

    The outcome of the hunger strikes made the British state realize that it needed to change its strategy and it achieved much the same for the SF Adams leadership. From that day unionism and the Shinners were slowly edged, for good or bad, in the direction of what turned out to be the current arrangement.

    Unionists are most loud when making demands that they have every right to celebrate their traditions, yet when Caitriona Ruane does likewise, many unionists on slugger howl as if the last thirty years did not happen, or Ruane an elected government minister has no right to tell the truth as she sees it.

  • matchoman

    Tell the truth as she sees it? The Minister was on an official ministerial visit and had no business pushing SF Propaganda to the pupils.

    Someone highlighted this to me…..

    http://www.noglossjustmatt.com

  • matchoman

    Oh dear, you still have not got the hang of this democracy thing have you?

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    shocking speach!! She is by far my favourite politition in NI. Totally incompetent and it’s even better when the shinners come out to defend her :).
    cue o’dowd for the next month…

  • ulsterfan

    I wonder did she tell the children about Sands because they had never heard of him.
    I think this is likely.
    As far as children are concerned he is as distant and irrelevant as Brian Boru or Santa Claus.
    He is just a name from history without any relevance to their lives and may he rest in oblivion not threatening us as he once did.

  • picador

    Chekov,

    My story is not made up (not by me at any rate) although it is third hand. I trust my source and my source trusts her source, who was present when the remarks were made.

    Back to Catriona. If her speech was as the SDLP observer says then it was totally inappropriate for a school setting. Cringeworthy in fact.

  • DC

    Mick, matchoman is using democracy as much as Caitriona and I know where the reasonableness judgement call rests thanks to your ole mate democracy.

  • Richard James

    “Unionists are most loud when making demands that they have every right to celebrate their traditions, yet when Caitriona Ruane does likewise, many unionists on slugger howl as if the last thirty years did not happen, or Ruane an elected government minister has no right to tell the truth as she sees it.”

    What is their to celebrate about Sands death? The stoning to death of Protestants by his supporters? As that is what the hunger strikes meant to the Unionist community.

  • Richard James

    “My story is not made up (not by me at any rate) although it is third hand. I trust my source and my source trusts her source, who was present when the remarks were made.”

    Sounds like a game of Chinese whispers. Catriona Ruane’s comments are a matter of fact, yours would just be libel if you had the courage to put a name to your slur.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Do you write for News of the World? If not, you should do!!!

  • Long’s Chippy

    Ruane is correct – Sands for a great example to young people – he showed them if they don’t eat up their food, they’ll die. If only those suffering from Anorexia could also take an example from the deceased idiot.

  • 6countyprod

    I wonder did she tell the children about Sands because they had never heard of him.

    Interesting comment, Ulsterfan. I was in Bargain Books this evening and I noticed that they had a pile of books about the hunger strikers reduced away down in price to get rid of them. They were beside Eamon Holmes’ autobiography which also was for sale dirt cheap.

    Maggie called their bluff. They never used the same tactic again. It was a complete waste of human life. They accomplished nothing from it, in fact, they only prolonged the conflict. It’s now a portion of republican folklore. Let them have it, they got little else for their efforts.

  • Come in No 6, ‘Bargain Books’, I’m sure there is a clue there if your search it out 😉

  • 6countyprod

    The morons burned my favourite store, Waterstone’s, that’s why i was in BB 😉

  • picador

    Richard James

    Sounds like a game of Chinese whispers. Catriona Ruane’s comments are a matter of fact, yours would just be libel if you had the courage to put a name to your slur.

    I am neither libeling anyone nor putting a slur on anyone. Wind your neck in!

  • Belfast Greyhound

    The problem is that a very second rate over promoted politician simply does not really understand what this democracy thing and politics is about.
    This was an official visit and not a personal one and any remarks made had to reflect the Government and not a personal position.
    Of course she had a right to state her bewildered and unpleasant views as an individual but one wonders if anyone would make the effort to invite her in an individual capacity to anything any longer given the shallowness of her personal mindset.
    Mind you what can anyone expect from a politician coming from a party that is still dominated by the unelected figures who have dominated its politics since the 70’s and really understand as much about democracy as Enver Hoxha and the Albanian Socialist Party did for just about as long.
    You simply have to forgive someone as limited, both in ability and political future, for reverting back to her sectarian roots and move on from her and her bile.
    I doubt she will have infected any of the young people she decided to try and confuse with her unbalanced notions about how to live in the future.

  • Pete Baker

    Guys

    Try to keep the focus on the actual topic.

    Which is the Northern Ireland Education Minister’s reported speech.

    Which is also where you’ve got it wrong, Mick.

    Ruane was not at the school as a Sinn Fein propagandist, nor even as a SF representative, but as the NI Education Minister – in that light her speech was beyond the pale.

    And Sands didn’t achieve what you claimed,

    The outcome of the hunger strikes made the British state realize that it needed to change its strategy and it achieved much the same for the SF Adams leadership.

    He was neither conscious of that nor was it even his objective. Although the propagandists who followed did pursue it.

    And it’s a pity Ruane didn’t focus on those changes within the SF Adams leadership’s objectives rather than simplistically lionising Sands. It would have been more educational for all concerned..

  • Hij

    ulsterfan

    Bobby sands lived facing the school, get yer history right.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I wonder how some commenters would view remarks if they were mirrored by a unionist politician.

    Say, if Peter Robinson visited an east Belfast secondary school in an official capacity to make some announcement and paid tribute to the brave sacrifices of (for want of a few names), John Gregg, Brian Nelson or Billy Wright.

    Or – for the sake of another argument – he announced a spending increase in school meal budgets and oh, by the way, wasn’t it great how the SAS during the Troubles, forcibly protected Ulster from the terrorism of republican paramilitaries.

    If he did, in his ministerial role, he’d be widely pilloried, and rightly so.

    Ruane doesn’t seem to get that she is a minister who is supposed to represent ALL the people of Northern Ireland.

    She should save the party political stuff for election rallies. There’s a time and a place for this, but I’m not sure that it’s in the classroom.

    If Ruane had been there in a different capacity, that would be a different matter. But she was there to launch a consultation on annual reports.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    She must be an agent provocateur or something. No one is that stupid. Either that or she is has some serious dirt on the leadership and they can’t sack her.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Or she’s just thick.

  • oneill

    Or she’s just thick

    She’s got degrees and stuff, speaks Spanish and plays tennis, so she’s not *thick* in the conventional(!)sense, just uncompletely suited for the post she’s been parachuted into. She’s an NGO activist with an NGO activist mentality and if anyone has had the misfortune to work with that sector, they’ll know that such folk have difficulty connecting with the real, bad world of planning, budgets and the concerns of the genuine man/woman on the street.

    Hence her speech which would have gone down a storm at the local Ogra gathering but was completely inappropriate for a minister of the Crown acting in her official capacity. The DUP should theoretically be calling for her head, but for their own narrow political interests, it’s better that she stays where she is.

  • picador

    Surely tennis isn’t that hard.

    Now, football – there’s a sport you need brains for. Thus the expression ‘he’s got a great football brain’.

    I’ve never heard the expression ‘she got a great tennis brain’. It’s more of an elbow sport.

  • oneill

    uncompletely suited

    Ms Ruane’s most definitely not as thick as I am…
    try “completely unsuited”

  • 6countyprod

    She must be an agent provocateur or something. No one is that stupid. Either that or she is has some serious dirt on the leadership and they can’t sack her.

    Sounds like HRC and Obama!

  • Harry McAlpine

    Given the damage Ruane has inflicted on Sinn Fein’s credibility during her time as a minister it is fortunate that she is not living in the times she so lovingly refers back to.

    If she had been as mouthy then it would have been a bin bag and a lonely border road for her.

  • Dec

    Can someone clarify whether the ball, not man rule goes out the window when the subject is an uppity fenian?

  • jone

    A comic performance from Jennifer McCann MLA on Talk Back where she eneded up agreeing it would be tickety boo if a unionist minister was to go to a school and laud Gusty Spence.

  • DC

    “Can someone clarify whether the ball, not man rule goes out the window when the subject is an uppity fenian?”

    Why do you agree as well that Caitriona played the man in her speech.

    Good for you.

  • Hugo Green

    Lets accede to Dick’s, sorry Dec’s, admirable position and discuss this matter as if the speech arrived in our midst from some ethereal entity.

    God forbid that anyone should try to link a speech with the person making it, their position and the context in which it was made.

  • Batteryereyes Girl

    Fairplay to Dec for gallantly steeping in to protect the fair damsel. But wait, is that not John O’Dowd’s job?

    I predict fisticuffs at dawn between these two swains.

  • Barrack Buster Jim

    The Ruanator is totally unsuited for the position of Education Minister for quite a number of reasons:

    1. She lives in Omeath or is it Louth…anyway it is in a foreign country
    2. She listens to no one, not even her senior civil servants, who are totally fed up with her.
    3. She has only spent 8 days in 18 months in her Bangor office….therefore her staff have to run to her and at at her beck and call…meaning that the office is unattended and if you want a civil servant in the Education office higher than the rank of filing clerk, you need to ring them numerous times. School Principals are fed up trying to get in touch with staff in the Bangor HQ due to the way she is running or rather not running the office.
    4. She is better equipped at organising ProvoFests, like the West Belfast Provofest of which she is a former Chief of Staff
    5. She is much better at helping eco-tourists escape from foreign climates and returning them to the much colder, wet climate of Ireland and is better suited for a job in that sector.

  • Richard James

    “I am neither libeling anyone nor putting a slur on anyone. Wind your neck in!”

    No picador, it would require some balls for you to name the person. Better to peddle your lies without scrutiny.