Possible sanction against Ruane over schools?

The saga of Catriona Ruane’s decisions or non decisions on the Capital Building Scheme for schools has been covered by Pete below. The DUP have a typically robust statement on their website from Mervyn Storey which calls for the minister to go.

“Having waited a week following on from her non-attendance at last week’s Assembly the education minister today failed to inform the house of those projects which are ready to move forward to construction stage. Last week she simply didn’t turn up. This week she has turned up with northing to say.

Back in Feb 2010 the Minister informed the Education Committee that her dept would be producing very clear criteria for capital projects and that at the appropriate time she would provide those criteria to the committee. 110 days later the Minister produced a set of criteria that was merely a list of existing departmental policies. I subsequently wrote to the Minister on 1/6/2010 asking her to give more detail on how the process would assess and adjudicate upon a particular school’s eligibility against a clearly defined set of criteria. To date I have not had any response.

On a daily basis I receive complaints from teachers, parents and members of boards of governors from every education sector. The common complaint is about the Minister herself. She is regarded as generating confusion and creating confrontation and chaos where none are necessary.

This particular Minister has become an albatross around the Assembly’s neck. As much as any other outside factor, Caitriona Ruane endangers the stability of the Assembly.

It is now clear to the vast majority of people that she should go.”

It is of course within Sinn Fein’s gift to decide whether or not Ruane does go. However, the TUV have suggested that Sammy Wilson should revoke Ruane’s powers on spending:

“This is a direct challenge to the Assembly, the accountability provisions and the DUP, particularly the Finance Minister. The response of Minister Wilson should be to forthwith revoke Ruane’s discretionary powers over capital spend. He can do this, but will he?”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Usual DUP politicking – more of the same in Westrminster today.

  • Drumlin Rock

    that’s what politicians do Sammy, however Cat makes it extremely easy for them, she even make Pootsy look like a talented minister, surely she is an embarasment to the rest of the SF team?

  • joeCanuck

    She should be an embarrassment, DR, but the whole bunch of them,SF, are totally arrogant and beyond being embarrassed.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Hate to drag sport back into it – but Ministers are a bit like football managers – they have to deal with the policies of the party that they inherit when they take up their portfolio and this aint an easy wicket – with Unionists out of step as usual with Nationalism and British opinion on selection and Irisg language – and the bad faith resulting in a complete pig’s Mickey in Education.

    Verdict: The boul Catriona to return the serve – probably in our native tongue.

  • willis

    ” Last week she simply didn’t turn up. This week she has turned up with northing to say.”

    Who does the proof reading in the DUP? “Northing”?

    Or is that Ulster Scots?

  • willis


    Sorry to be a pedant, not that sorry actually.

    Where does MS call for the minister to go?

    He says

    “It is now clear to the vast majority of people that she should go.”

    If the DUP want her to go they should put down a motion of no confidence.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    At least you’re not being pedantic willis.

    Fact is that the education minister couldn’t be assed to turn up on time to make an important announcement. A week later she turned up on time and revealed nothing at all.

    Her track record thus far has been one of obstruction, pig headedness and incompotence, topped off with a ministerial style best suited to a one-party dictatorship. Obviously terms such as meanibgful consultation or concensus aren’t in her vocabulary.

    Why send her own child to a grammar if they should be scrapped? Why insist on the luxury of translating everything into Irish at a time when the assembly is facing massive cuts to every essential service? Why pretend to be a minister when you’re manifestly not up to the job?

    Just in case Catriona wasn’t sure of her popularity, she need look no further than the Westminsters. Even the SF electoral bandwagon can’t bring every lame duck home.

    She needs to step aside for someone — anyone, before the education system collapses completely.

  • willis

    I dunno

    SF play a long game and are not afraid to use the odd expendable volunteer. They are playing the DUP for suckers just like they did with Trimble.

    As the TUV have it:
    “Once more the Sinn Fein Minister shows not just her contempt for accountability but demonstrates that contrary to DUP assurances the Education Minister is a law onto herself, whom even the Assembly can’t control”

    Unlike Roosevelt they speak loudly and carry a celery stick.

  • fin

    thought the TUV quote above was a bit light on bigotry so checked the full statement, it appears the TUV’s main concern is

    “No doubt she is again lining things up for preferential treatment for the Irish medium sector” or should that be “leprechaun sector”

    So the TUVs main concern is that themun’s might be getting something, there there, don’t worry maybe they’ll release Torrents Knight to make it up to you

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    So the SF long game is to stick with an incompotent minister who throws the entire education system into chaos.

    That should certainly help the future vote in the ROI.

  • sdlp Man

    Gerry Adams cannot get rid of Caitriona easily because she was his personal appointment and to admit that she has been a disaster as Minister would only underline the Great One’s fallibility. She is not expendible as were a number of allegedly “underperforming” serving Sinn Fein MLAs who were de-selected before the last Assembly election, one in North Antrim (McGuigan), one in Upper Bann (O’Hagan), one in Mid Ulster (Dougan), one in North Belfast (Stanton) and two in Newry & Armagh (Hyland and O’Rawe). Interesting that four of the six who got the bullet were women.

    Caitriona ran a small operation in West Belfast in the 1980s called the Centre for Research & Documentation (CRD), prior to running Feile an Phobail. In CRD she was hysterical in her approach. I would guess she has little or no support base in Sinn Fein, hadn’t suffered and died for Ireland as a volunteer, was dependent on GA’s patronage for survival but SF are cute enough to find a way of sidelining her before next May and to enable Caitriona to spend more time with her family in Omeath.

  • Ms Ruane damages SF. If no one in SF can see that, or they dont care enough to do anything, then their reluctance will be visible in the south, most of whose constituents not only have strong views about education, also care about contempt for the voter and, most importantly, voters children.

  • Garza

    Obviously Ruane has been a complete disaster.

    However I will give her reluctant credit in one aspect.

    She has kept the DUP’s creationists at bay from tampering with science classes in NI. She has to be thanked for that.

  • vanhelsing

    never thought I say this but keep her – she makes everyone else in Stormont look good…no wait she actually has some input in our kids future…can’t we just sack the b****?

    Interesting that the slick, politic aware shinner machine haven’t noticed the elephant in the room…although she looks a little more like a hyena to me… 🙂

    As gerry lvs castro [now THERE is a blog] points out – hypocrisy abounds with this woman…

  • TheHorse

    Catriona Ruane had a very difficult task and was opposed all the way by the Unionist establishment for a change in the education system that benifitted all sections of our community. Her attitude to her job might be questionable but the motives of Unionists who objected and stonewalled her every proposal and who are now calling her to stand down are very questionable, standing by Robinson but demanding Catriona Ruane go is laughable, maybe they are more riled by the fact that she’s a Southerner, in their eyes a foriegner acting as a minister in a Stormont government.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Absolutely agree that she faced a difficult task Horse, but the way she has gone about that task has made a difficult situation into a disaster area.

    A good initial step might have been to put a sensible workable system in place before scrapping the old one. The grammar system was after all good enough for her own kids — it could certainly have stood a few more years while a viable alternative was worked out.

    As it is, the minister has managed to alienate virtually everyone, discredit her party in govt and jeopardise our entire education system.

    I rather doubt that many Unionists could give a damn if she’s a southerner as long as she got the job done, something which she has comprehensively failed to do.

    As for Robinson, I’m really not sure what crimes he is proved to have committed — perhaps you can enlighten me. Either way he’s streets ahead of Catriona in the ministerial stakes, but then again if she can make blunder-boy Poots look good, she really should be making a decision everyone can agree on — to resign before she’s pushed

  • Driftwood

    Catriona Ruane had a very difficult task

    Debatable, but leaving that aside, and the pathetic anti-science credentials of the DUP, and Storey in particular.

    Her hysterical outbursts and pathetic communication skills, combined with an outdated Marxist agenda have landed her in joke territory, in an already car crash assembly.

    What’s the Isle of Man education system like? Can the House of Keys take over this dismal system? Gibraltar? The Falklands? Anything but this crap.

  • TheHorse

    “As it is, the minister has managed to alienate virtually everyone, discredit her party in govt and jeopardise our entire education system”. Leaving out the last part Gerry lvs castro, virtually all DUP ministers can be accused of that with their views on the environment, evolution and the age of the world. I never said Peter Robinson committed any crimes but a lot of other people think he did including his former electorate from east belfast either way his actions where at the very least, oppertunistic and self motivated. How could you agree viable alternatives if the very people you must negoitate with about an alternative are totally opposed to any change.

  • TheHorse

    hysterical outbursts ! Well some politicians here have made a good living out of being like that and they all come from the Unionist family as for Catriona Ruane’s communication skills, is it her manner or tone of voice you think is pathetic. Thankfully mose people here in this state believe the 11 plus is an outdated subjection of class politics on 11 year old children, hardly a Marxist agenda more a balancing of the scales to give all children the same standard of education.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    No argument re DUP views on the above Horse — the difference being that they are precisely that — views. A tiny place like NI is going to have zero impact on the global environment regardless of policy and the young earth nonsense is just a party damaging sideshow.

    Catriona’s inept and dictatorial handling of the transfer process, not to mention her breathtaking incompotence regarding budgets and school buildings have made her a sick joke to both sides.

    A friend who works in a large local school (not a grammar BTW) characterised Ms Ruane after a recent visit as ‘pig ignorant’ both in terms of her people skills and her grasp of the problems facing schools as a direct result of her policies. By contrast he had found Martin McGuinness several years previously to be intelligent, sincere and prepared to listen.

    Most in the education system agreed that the 11 plus needed to go, regardless of die-hard Unionists. But Catriona’s solution was to throw the system out the window, then take months to come up with something that satisfied no-one. Just as one example, her diktat that children in receipt of free school meals should be given first priority in transfers has been adopted by a whopping 15 schools province-wide. Consensus? Agreement? Or sheer bloody mindedness?

    Re Robinson — East Belfast voted him down, not because of supposed criminal activity, rather what they percieved as self-interest and a betrayal of his roots through excessive expenses. Being made a laughing stock thanks to Iris and his ill-tempered TV outbursts can hardly have helped either.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    re. “But Catriona’s solution was to throw the system out the window”

    One quibble – she is just following orders and going along the same path as Marty set out on when he was the Minister.

    It may suit SF to ditch her at some point, though I doubt it and she may well start to pick up quite a bit of sympathy as a result of the highly personal nature of many of the attacks on her.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Absolutely no doubt that Marty was going for the same result — it’s Catriona’s methodology and ineptness that has pissed everyone off — and I mean everyone, with the possible exception of others in SF — we simply don’t know as individual freedom of speech isn’t exactly a facet of the party.

    As regards personal attacks, the fact that she’s a shinner, a southerner and a woman are and should be irrelevant. Her hypocrisy regarding her own kids education, her OTT adverserial style, refusal to acknowledge other’s needs or opinions and her obvious unfitness for a ministerial post in even the woeful atmosphere of Stormont are most certainly fair game.

  • Freya

    @ TheHorse – Thankfully mose people here in this state believe the 11 plus is an outdated subjection of class politics on 11 year old children,

    Strangely my memory of the Burns consultation result was that the public was overwhelmingly in favour of retaining academic selection. What is it about that that particular consultation SF finds so forgettable? Has another consultation taken place since that has produced a different result?