“It is irresponsible to make ill-informed comments about areas which are not your responsibility.”

As DC noted in the comments zone of Brian’s post on our special little pleaders, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Paterson made an interesting pitch during the Conservative Conference fringe event on NI today.

With a number of NI Executive ministers present, Owen Paterson argued that the “British taxpayer should not continue to subsidise segregation” in NI, and he highlighted segregated education here as a particular example of “a criminal waste of public money”.

Speaking to UTV in Birmingham after the event NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, appeared to enthusiastical endorse Owen Paterson’s comments

Mr McGuinness – told UTV he was an “integrationist”.

“The first decision I took as minister of education was to establish two integrated schools in Belfast”, he told UTV. “I’m all for it”.

Back in Northern Ireland, however, the current Education Minister Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane’s reaction was more… traditional.

“It is irresponsible to make ill-informed comments about areas which are not your responsibility. Mr Patterson [sic] is thankfully not in charge of any Department in the north of Ireland.”


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  • The Raven

    If it weren’t so serious, I’d be writing that I’m stifling giggles at The Ruinator’s quote….

    Seriously though – are there comparators for the cost of education with and without “segregation”?

  • William Markfelt


  • Pete Baker

    I’ve added a sic-note to that quote…

  • Frustrated Democrat

    The cost of segregated education is about £1,000,000,000 (yes that is 9 zeroes).

    If we in NI were able to have our children educated together we would not need any cuts and would indeed have a surplus.

    Why would Rouane want to keep segregated education, what is the benefit to children? The churches if they want to have the extra £1,000,000,000 spent should pay for it, not the taxpayers.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Mr Patterson [sic] is thankfully not in charge of any Department in the north of Ireland”

    Though if he were he could hardly do a more incompotent or pig-headed job than Ms Ruane it has to be said.

    For once Marty is talking sense. Segregated education is the worst of all worlds — perpetuating tribal hatreds, handing indoctrinational rights to an organisation which shall we say has proven itself less than examplary with children and costing the taxpayer a bloody fortune for absolutely no good reason.

  • wild turkey

    “It is irresponsible to make ill-informed comments about areas which are your responsibility. Ms Ruane is, unfortunately , in charge of a major spending Department in the north of Ireland.”

    and she is totally impervious to any comments or corrections on her ideologically fuelled incompetence.

    tenns anyone? well at least they have line judges

  • joeCanuck

    I’m a bit curious. Are there Catholic schools in the UK and, if so, are they supported by State grants?
    Step up, Rory Carr. You usually know the answer to questions like that.

  • Seymour Major

    Owen Paterson was not actually talking about segregation in relation to Education. I believe he was following up a suggestion made by Ian Parsley.

    see this post and the comments


  • pippakin

    There are Catholic schools in the UK they get the same grants etc as any other church school and yes there are Protestant schools in the UK too. There are also Jewish and Muslim schools and all take whatever grants they are entitled to or can get.

    Catholic and Protestant schools in the UK have very good reputations and there is competition to get children enrolled in them. The problem in the north is the sectarianism. In England parents have been known to turn up at church, the whole bit, to get their children into the right school.

    Ruane is as usual talking out of her rear end. One day, probably after she’s been sacked, she will realise her job should have been to educate children not promote sectarianism.

  • joeCanuck

    Thanks, Pippakin.
    So what is he talking about?
    Now you said that the grants were the same as for any church school; but does that meet total operating costs compared with State schools?

  • pippakin


    I think so but I’m not certain. There are of course some public schools of all faiths, but most are part of mainstream education and as such would qualify.

    It used not to be a problem since religion was taught at all schools anyway, now that England is largely secular church schools have to fight there corner.

    In fact as far as education is concerned Martin McGuinness is far more in line with British mainstream education than either the idiot Ruane.

    I think Paterson may have been reflecting the British attitude to education. Church schools are funded but they are, if not discouraged, then definitely not encouraged.

  • Tweedybird

    I ran a youth club for 10 years and my experiences shaped my opinion that the seeds of children’s attitudes begin at a young age. Therefore, if we are to stamp out the scourge of sectarianism in this country then integrated schools have to be the way forward. As we all know the children of today are tomorrows future, so this would be a very effective step of ‘nipping it in the bud’. If we cannot change the entrenched attitudes of some of the adults/politicians today then we have to think about the future and start with the children; integrated schools would be a positive start.

  • JJ

    I seriously doubt the savings would amount to $1 billion, or anywhere near it, but mandatory integration would go along way towards a brighter future.

  • Alias

    If the British state makes a decision to wipe out catholic education in its territory by withdrawing state funding for it then it will wipe it out irrespective about how its catholic citizens (and taxpayers) in the territory feel about it.

    If their Catholicism serves to make them feel less British then it obviously isn’t in British national interests to have that reinforced through state-funded schools.

    It’s good to see that Marty is nodding his head in agreement with the Viceroy’s decrees even if the message hasn’t been passed down to Ms Ruane yet…

  • joeCanuck

    Such a decision would spark an insurrection. They wouldn’t dare. Integration, if it comes, will come only through parental decisions

  • Tweedybird

    “Integration, if it comes, will come only through parental decisions” In that case Joe we will be waiting a long long time

  • Alias

    It won’t, Joe, if it is managed well. Marty is already pretending that it is his idea rather than his master voice so he is presenting it as Irish people determining their own affairs in their interests rather than the British state determining those affairs in its own interests. Top marks to Marty there. Likewise the rest of the public will be led to support the decision by various means, thinking it is in their collective interests.

  • joeCanuck

    Don’t you think the “dissidents” would have a field day with it? Slight re-definition from aspirants to a UI socialist republic to defenders of the faith?

  • joeCanuck

    And not just the “dissidents”. An issue that the SDLP could use to regain votes from SF.

  • Kathy C

    first mcguiness refused his invitation to meet the Pope but happily accepted his invitation to the tory meeting and now he is “enthusiastical endorse Owen Paterson’s (NI sec. of state) comments” Demo’s what agenda Mcguiness is pushing. I’m glad that Education Minister Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane’s commented that Owen isn’t in charge of any department in the north of Ireland.

  • Kathy C

    I’m all for sinn fein loosing votes…

  • pippakin

    Kathy C

    All the above comments ignore the fact that a number of people in the south want integrated education, or at the very least for churches to lose their power in schools.

    Also missing is the protestant response to the ending of church schools, and it would be every bit as powerful as the catholic.

  • Cynic

    Oh dear. Catatonia appears not to have looked down the hill at Stormont to that red brick building where the Northern Ireland Office lives.

    Last time I looked that was a real Department of the real; Government at Westminster….. you know the one that gives her the money and that is watching her ‘criminal waste’ of it and thinking, “why bother”.

    Still what does the education of kids matter when you have dogma to consider

  • fin

    Joe, in answer to your question. My Missus teaches in a CoE secondary school, and you seem to have been told a few porkies on this thread.

    Firstly education is split over the 4 states in the UK, in England over 1/3 (approx 7000 out of 20,000) schools are faith based, they are fully funded by the state (maintained schools).

    There is NO competition for any maintained school, entry depends entirely on how close you live to the school (and obviously your faith, for faith schools) as there is no 11+ – although cheekily some schools illegally use SATs to decide in some individual cases.

    Faith schools sometimes provide the land for a school and additional funding but faith schools receive the same funding as others.

    Regilious Education is taught in ALL maintained schools faith or otherwise under ‘Collective Worship’ its part of the basic curriculum.

    Also you might like to question sluggerooneys about there hatred of Ruanes policies, you might be surprised!!

  • Dr Concitor

    I was at an”event” in around 2006 where a suit from the OFMDFM informed us that the NI public service as a whole was around 20% less efficient than GB. i.e. in a like for like comparison it costs 20% more money to provide the same service. The two obvious reasons I would see for this would be sectarianism and an inefficient and self-serving bureaucracy. This was before our beloved ministers got going so I’m sure its got worse.

  • Dr Concitor

    Fin, all right thinking people accept that education In NI needed reformed. It is the competence of the minister that many question.

  • There are five different systems in Northern Ireland: controlled, maintained, public, integrated and Irish Medium. A few too many? Certainly Patterson, with no specific authority on the devolved matter is pointing out that to say to there is no room for lesser expenditure across departments is clearly wrong, using education as a specific example.

  • pippakin


    No competition?

    It is not suggested that people send their children to church schools because of the religion, although some obviously do. It is because some church schools have very good reputations.


    The above is a link to a famous case. It reflects two things: the determination of some families to ensure their children get into the best schools, and the determination of some councils to ‘equalise’ education.

    Religion is taught in all schools, sure it is, and a pretty pick and mix bag it is too, containing as it does every known religion and some not so well known. Sure the teachers would not want to offend anyone.

    A member of my own family actually moved to make sure they were in the right catchment area. It happens, it happens a lot.

  • pippakin

    Forgot to add:

    You will also see estate agents refer to a house being in the ‘right’ catchment area. It does in fact add a couple of thousand to the value of the house!

  • Ulick

    Integrated schools are all well and good for those who want them but I wouldn’t send my children to one.

  • Cynic

    Perhaps if the Minister ever attended her Department’s HQs she would notice.

  • Paul

    Why not?

  • Cynic

    “Patterson, with no specific authority on the devolved matter ”

    Actually he has.

    The Constitutional position is that Parliament votes the NI block grant to the NIO who then give money to Stormont. The Perm Sec in NIO is therefore accountable to the UK PAC (the one that matters) for the efficiency and effectiveness of that spend. So if Therese is gross mismanagement at Stormont NIO have a DUTY to address it and keep the children in line. They can do this quite simply eg if Catatonia wastes say £30m, and wont be sensible they can dock that off the Stormont budget in the next year

    Ministers like Catatonia need to realise where they sit in the food chain.

    Oh and by the way her Department is called the Department of Education or Northern Ireland not the North of Ireland.

  • With budget cuts looming large on the horizon, why does anyone believe that there will be any money to introduce changes in the short-term (or medium term by the look of it)? Whatever the merits of segregated or integrated education, any re-organisation or changes to the educational infrastructure will incur cost from funds that won’t be there.
    People here are, as ever, assuming that they are the intended audience for comments by a British minister or politician, when they aren’t – Paterson was being seen to (and reported to, more importantly) deliver a nice little sound-byte about the locals having to catch themselves on and stop wasting the great British taxpayers money on their prejudices. It’s all part of the mood music around the cuts the Tories and Lib Dems are going to have make.

  • Framer

    Catholic schools are one of the few of life’s certainties and the church will fight to the death to maintain them. End of story.

    They even get exemptions from fair employment law when it comes to the recruitment of teachers and in a different fashion against gays.

    Who even knows or cares about that?

  • DC

    The belts and braces approach.

  • pippakin


    But change is happening slowly but surely. It was not so long ago adoption agencies lost their right to discriminate between hetersexual and homosexual couples and that, in spite of the huge fuss, included the RCC adoption agency/s

  • fin

    There is no competition for maintained schools faith or otherwise, either you are in the catchment area for the year or you are not.

    Also RE in nonfaith schools do not teach “every known religion and some not so well known” it only covers the major ones” and even in that context its more about understanding religions, not indepth religious doctrine.

    just to recap on your earlier comments and correct them

    ALL schools teach RE

    Faith schools do not get ‘grants’ they are funded fully same as all maintained schools

    there is NO competitin for faith or nonfaith maintained schools only CATCHMENT areas

    re your comment regarding estate agents again thats for any school faith or otherwise

    Finally – actually not, just bored correcting you, a ‘church school’ is not a faith school, a church school is more like a public school

  • fin

    OK, Dr Concitor, what have the other parties proposed?

  • Driftwood

    Hilarious rant by Ruane on Nolan this morning-9.30am- her conclusion (aside from telling Paterson to go back to ‘his own country’) being that evil Tory cuts needed to be fought and only a United Ireland would bring about real savings.

    Completely divorced from any reality on the ground.

    Framer, correct, although the catholic ethos will wane due to market forces and increasing secularism among educated folk.

    Dissenter, there is a 6th education system in the FE sector which is the responsibility of Reg’s dept of employment and learning.

    The sheer amount of over capacity in all sectors means co-operation will probably take a bottom up approach as there is no hope of stormont delivering on anything.

  • pippakin


    If religion is not a faith, what is it.

    You are nit picking and you know it. A catchment area is fine in principal, what happens when there are more pupils than places at the preferred school in a catchment area. I don’t know how long you have lived in England the link I gave refers to a case in 2008 but nothing has changed except perhaps to intensify the competition. The case happened because the competition to get into good schools is so intense councils try to confirm information given is accurate. But, to use anti terrorist laws to do so is, by any standard, over the top.

    Maintained or grant, here I agree I clouded the issue because as I said above I was not sure. I have since confirmed that church schools are, with a few exceptions fully state funded.

    Of course there are good state schools outside religious area, that was never in doubt. This thread is about faith schools and estate agents do not discriminate. if a house is in the catchment are of a good school they say so.

    Do look at the link you in danger of making a fool of yourself, again.

  • Ulick

    A number of reasons.

    The best performing schools in an academic sense are generally Catholic Maintained followed by the Prod state schools. Integrated doesn’t feature.

    Integrated schools don’t play ‘A’ or ‘B’ level college football. In fact I’ve found that most integrated schools are at best apathetic to Gaelic games in general and in some cases completely hostile.

    Much of the integrated sector in NI consists of failing state schools who stick an integrated sign over the door in order to secure survival and funding. Little thought is given to ethos of the schools. They are all generally around 70% Protestant and reflect that ethos. If I wanted to bring my children up with a narrow six county/Northern Irish sense of identity, I might send them to an integrated schools. But my children are Irish and I would like them to have the same rich cultural experience in terms of language, song, dance, sport and music that I received. They wouldn’t get that in an integrated school.

    At the end of the day integrated schools are just another way trying to reconcile the natives to the concept of partition under the guise of some wishy-washy liberal guff. Alright for some people, but, nah, no thanks, not for me and I’d prefer if my hard earned taxes didn’t go towards funding them either.

  • Ulick

    “although the catholic ethos will wane due to market forces and increasing secularism among educated folk.”

    Maybe so but that completely misses the point anyway. The vast majority of Catholic Maintained schools no longer have Catholic clergy on the teaching or administrative staff any more, so the “Catholic ethos” has been on the wane for twenty years or more.

    The reason parents keep sending their children to Catholic Maintained schools is because of the ‘Irish ethos’ and I see no signs of that waning “among educated folk.”

  • Neil


    agreed. My kids won’t go to an ‘integrated’ school either I quite like that they should get a sound moral and religious education in parallel with everything else you mention, and I have to add I know no parents who think any different. Everyone I know wouldn’t consider sending their kids to a non-Catholic school.

  • Driftwood

    Why not send your kids to an irish medium school if that’s how you want them indoctrinated.

    Otherwise what you seem to be implying is there are Irish nationalist schools and British unionist ones. I’m far from convinced that’s a universal phenomenon here. In certain areas many schools eg Methody have become mixed due to ‘market value’.

    Anyway, you seem to value sectarianism higher than academic achievement, but that’s your call. thankfully our Universities do not follow your logic.

  • Ulick

    “Why not send your kids to an irish medium school if that’s how you want them indoctrinated.”

    I can see from your use of the pejorative term “indoctrinated” that you disagree with my wish to have my children to be have the rich cultural experience they get in a Catholic Maintained school. That’s your right, but to be honest I really don’t care about what you think about how my children should be educated. To answer your question, we have considered sending the youngest pup to Irish medium but a veering away from it for the same reasons I mentioned in a previous post, the bigger Catholic Maintained schools have more academic choice on offer and are better performing in the arts. Though given your views on “Catholic ethos” of Maintained schools, I expect you are supportive of the Irish medium sector considering they are all strictly secular?

    “Otherwise what you seem to be implying is there are Irish nationalist schools and British unionist ones.”

    No there are some culturally Irish schools, some culturally British schools and, God help us, some culturally Northern Irish schools. As as said previously, alright for some but we’ll pass thanks.

    “Anyway, you seem to value sectarianism higher than academic achievement, but that’s your call. thankfully our Universities do not follow your logic.”

    Not at all. Firstly I don’t consider a culturally Irish educational environment to be sectarian, you might, but hey, so what, I don’t care. Secondly, I do value academic achievement, my wife and I have at least half a dozen degrees between us, but I do not value academic achievement above the benefits of a good well rounded education.

  • fin

    Pip, ok correcting you is really starting to get boring, but here goes

    faith school = maintained school with a particular religous ethos\character

    church school = directly connected to a church funded by the church and/or voluntarily

    Do you understand now, they are two totally different types of schools, faith=state church=private, I can’t make it any simplier.

    OK, the next thing you don’t understand is catchment areas, catchment areas grow and shrink every year depending on demand, one year you can be in the catchment area, next year your outside it, parents list schools in order of choice 1,2,3,4 etc, depending on places available and location a child may not go to the nearest school but to one further away which was 3,4, or 5 etc

    Again, to correct you there is NO competition, you are in the catchment area for that year or not, than it goes down the list of other schools who have places, maintained schools are NOT allowed to have entry determined by any competative means, its ILLEGAL it is purely based on location/catchment area and available places thereafter.

    I have no idea why you posted that link, it means nothing except a family made sure they were in a catchment area ie close to the school because as I’ve told you catchment areas grow and shrink depending on demand. A very good local school near me has a apartment block opposite which makes a fortune for landlords who rent apartments for one year to families determined to get their kid into that school, whats your point?

    “Do look at the link you in danger of making a fool of yourself, again”


  • GoldenFleece

    shouldn’t the moral and religious education come from the parents? Or are u just that lazy?

    And is there evidence that people that go to intergrated schools are more immoral?

  • GoldenFleece

    It is fine if you want your brand of religious education in a school for your kids

    But I don’t expect me to pay for it.

    Go secular or go private.

  • Driftwood

    The relevant topic is on who pays for it all.
    To be blunt, it’s mostly HM Treasury via the (mostly) English taxpayer. They might have a right to see their money is not wasted on funding, effectively, Celtic and Rangers schools in every town in a UK region while other regions are underfunded.
    The difference between ‘Irish’ culture and ‘British’ culture are miniscule compared to the cultural differences in a London comprehensive.

  • Ulick

    That’s all fine and well but we are not in London, or Finchley for that matter, and we Irish parents in the north value the Irish cultural experience of the Maintained schools.

    As joeCanuck said at the top of the page, there would be an insurrection if the Brits withdrew funding from the Maintained sector, not that they could do it legally anyhow. So unfortunately for them it’s another legacy of their colonial follies they’ll just have to stump up for. If they don’t like it, well, they know what they can do…

  • pippakin


    Stop being so rediculous

    The link is obvious. Four families were spied on for weeks to check if the details they gave to get into a particular school were accurate. One family found out, sued and won, but they admit they played the system to get into the school of their choice. The other three families were found out and the school places they were hoping for were denied them.

    Catchment areas do change, so what. The families who want their children to go to a particular school change also but most families still want the best school in any area for their child.

    As for the rest of your little homile: Like I care.

  • fin

    “(mostly) English taxpayer”, not sure how correct that statement is, possibly safer to say taxpayers resident in SE England, although you also need to consider taxes paid by businesses, which sadly are less English than they have ever been.

  • Glencoppagagh

    I have to agree with you that it’s really Irish maintained rather than Catholic maintained schools. That being the case, maybe the church should consider withdrawing from education altogether. Of course, if that happened, you’d have to consider whether these schools might lose a vital ingredient of their Irishness.
    However, by rejecting the Irish medium option, you obviously prefer a diluted version.

  • fin

    It took a while Pip but we got there, well done.

    So we agree catchment areas grow and shrink (so there are never to many kids in a catchment area)

    There is NO competition for a school its purely your location (as per your link)

    And guessing you understand your mistakes in the rest of your multiple posts that I’ve corrected such as faith school v church school etc, you have made several other errors but its such a grind to get you accept your errors just on these few, I can’t face trying to get you to understand the rest.

    Hope you found my posts useful in understanding education, obviously I understand your rudeness as your inferiority complex (we discussed previously) kicks in in situations like this

  • Neil

    shouldn’t the moral and religious education come from the parents? Or are u just that lazy?

    Well it really depends on what you choose to have your kids educated in while at school. They obviously get religious and moral education at home, they also get taught basic mathematics, English language, History in the home, among other things.

    That doesn’t mean because I’ve taught my kid to count to ten that they should cancel mathematics in P1 does it? No of course not, we can teach them many things at home including religion, but just as we don’t have time to teach our kids Calculus, to read Chaucer or Shakespeare with them, we don’t have time to fine pick through the parables of the bible. We leave that to RE teachers, (and English, Maths, Science teachers) who teach in ‘integrated’ State schools too. I was in one.

    It is fine if you want your brand of religious education in a school for your kids

    But I don’t expect me to pay for it.

    Re read the thread big son and try and get an idea about how all the schools are funded. I pay plenty of taxes, as do the vast majority of parents at my kids fantastic Catholic school. The classes are packed and the school is getting no more money than any other faith or non faith school, and is providing the same service.

    So in essence I don’t want or expect you to pay for anything. You go and pay for your secular schools and good luck to you, that’s your choice. Don’t deny me my choice, I pay my own taxes and should have some say, possibly, just possible the same say as you do.

    Or perhaps you teach your kids the full GCSE curriculum in nine different subjects, or are you just lazy?

    It’s also interesting that secularists are now at the point where they want to force people to have their children educated in the secular way, using the financial argument which is bogus as no one seems to be able to say that a Catholic education is more expensive. It costs the same so don’t try and force your views down other people’s throats or legislate their lives to fit your world view. Jehovas Witnesses used to do that shit, now it’s militant athiests.

  • Driftwood

    I was going to say SE England. Anyhow the point remains- that funding Ulicks wish not to have a prod or atheist about the school he sends his kids to- may not be the best use of this money.
    Threatening insurrection if others do not pander to your every whim does suggest a rigid mindset.

    maybe it wont matter soon..


  • pippakin


    So people lying about where they live or going to the right church to get their children into the right school is not a pretty clear indication of strong competition, neither is a council spying on families a strong indication that it happens all the time.

    Enough of this. Little shinner sheep turning up every time a member of SF is criticised is nothing new, you do it all the time.

    It is done to change the subject and deflect further criticism. You will not be lucky where Ruane is concerned no amount of red herrings will alter the fact that she is one of the most incompetent ministers, that she is in charge of education points to the incompetence of those who appointed her.

  • Paul

    “The reason parents keep sending their children to Catholic Maintained schools is because of the ‘Irish ethos’ and I see no signs of that waning “among educated folk.””

    Unless you are presuming to speak for all parents, “the reason you send them”, I think you meant.

    Outside possibly history lessons and literature (and even there, you’d probably have your mind opened ever so slightly if you were to discover what is taught in more than a few of the state grammar schools) , I’m interested to know how this “Irish ethos” manifests itself on a daily basis?

    Presumably you regard protestants as also being Irish, so does educating your child in an environment were there is a distinct lack of such classmates not limit the version of “Irishness” being indoctrinated/taught.

  • Ulick

    “that funding Ulicks wish not to have a prod or atheist about the school he sends his kids to- may not be the best use of this money.”

    Where did I say that? The chemistry teacher at the excellent Catholic Maintained grammar school I attended was a Protestant and the history teacher an atheist. I was taught by both and as both are still there I’d be only to glad to have both teach my children. Also there is nothing stopping Protestant and atheist children attending CCMS schools, and many do.

    “Threatening insurrection if others do not pander to your every whim does suggest a rigid mindset.”

    I did not threaten insurrection only stating the most likely outcome. The majority of children in the north attend Catholic Maintained schools, so that’s a deliberate choice by the majority of parents in the north. Attempt to take the right to that choice away and force their children into what currently passes for Protestant State and Integrated schools would undoubtedly meet with stern resistance.

    Of course there are other options. The State schools could begin acknowledge the wishes of the majority of parents here by adopting an Irish and somewhat Catholic ethos but I suspect that would meet with resistance from other quarters, so I guess we have a stalemate. The British or English taxpayer as you choose to describe them has no choice, unless they want to, you know, leave altogether….

  • Ulick

    Nah, I prefer choice and unfortunately the Irish medium sector doesn’t have the full range of academic choice and extra-curricular activities available to the CCMS schools. The language is a very important part of my culture and identity, but not all of it. I value our music, dance, drama, English language literature, traditions and sports just as much as the language.

  • Driftwood

    Our Secretary of State, Owen, did attend a ‘faith school’ of sorts..

    But it does seem quite a good model to follow.

  • fin

    Pip, its not being competitive, cheating to get something you want is not being competitive!!!!!!!.

    It was n’t me who changed the subject, Joe asked a question you commented with a load of old bollix, I continually corrected you, you now accept pretty much what I say (you stop talking about something once you realise you are wrong)

    Would you be on safer ground if I asked you what your issues with Ruane are, I’m happy to discuss them, personally I admire her bravery in getting rid of the 11+ something others have failed to do for decades, and (not sure if she’s do it yet) taking away funding for Prep schools. But lets get on topic I’m interested in learning why you think she is “one of the most incompetent ministers” how in your opinion does she compare with education ministers elsewhere on these islands

  • Ulick

    “Outside possibly history lessons and literature (and even there, you’d probably have your mind opened ever so slightly if you were to discover what is taught in more than a few of the state grammar schools)”
    I’m very familiar with what is taught in State schools, in fact, it’s my job to know. As they teach pretty much the same as what is taught in CCMS schools I don’t have a problem with that.

    “I’m interested to know how this “Irish ethos” manifests itself on a daily basis?”
    In pretty much the same way as the British ethos manifests itself in State schools. At the end of the day a school serves it’s community and the community I’m from has demonstrated no desire to reflect the cultural mores of the British or Northern Irish integrationists.

    “Presumably you regard protestants as also being Irish, so does educating your child in an environment were there is a distinct lack of such classmates not limit the version of “Irishness” being indoctrinated/taught.”
    Indeed, but I cannot and would not want to force Protestant parents to send their children to a CCMS school. So just as Irish medium education is not feasible due to particular limitations, so too the lack of Protestant pupils in CCMS schools is an unfortunate downside to the current set-up.

  • pippakin


    next time an athlete cheats you can reflect.

    I have no doubt at all you would love to enlarge the subject to include every education minister since the civil war. Hard luck. I’m not biting!

  • Driftwood

    It’s pretty much the same culture in all schools. Ulick.

    X factor, Coleen Rooney, Facebook etc

    Dress it up with as many baubles as you like, but its basically a Glasgow Celtic shirt with ribbons on.

    There is no such thing as ‘Catholic’or ‘Irish’ maths, science, ICT etc. You might as well ask for separate ‘Yorkshire identity’ schools in that part of our nation.

    Owen Paterson is in charge here, and he doesn’t like waste.

  • Ulick

    There is more to our schools that the subjects that are taught, as I’ve alluded to on my previous posts. I’ve said I have no problem with what is taught and that is broadly the same in all sectors.

    I’m more comfortable with the ethos of the CCMS schools that those in the Integrated or State sector. If you believe there is no difference in the ethos of these sectors then you should be happy to see all of the schools in the north merge with the CCMS schools and adopt the same ethos.

  • fin

    So Pip, do you think when an athlete cheats they are being ‘competitive? thats just silly, how long are you going to hangon to this stupid fag-end of being wrong, you do yourself no favours by trying to equat cheating with being competitive to try to prove you were right.

    Regarding Ruane, disappointed to say the least, if you do not put her performance to comparison with others in the UK and Ireland how can you measure it? You also seem to be wiggling a bit because I did not ask for a historical comparison, actually a current or recent is much more important.

    You accused me (falsely) of going off discussion, I’ve corrected all your previous errors (well the biggies anyway) more than happy to discuss Ruane in any context you like.

    I mentioned the stopping of funding to Prep schools and the ending of the 11+ do you have an opposing view on these decisions, or are there other things you oppose?

  • Glencoppagagh

    “I’m more comfortable with the ethos of the CCMS schools”

    It sounds as if for you a vital part of that ethos is that your children are not exposed to ‘foreign’ games.
    Apart from substituting Irish for another foreign language, that’s about the only distinguishing feature of most CCMS schools. There’s the Catholic bit of course, but you’re not much bothered by that.

  • pippakin


    Nice try little sheep.

  • Paul

    I still can’t get my head round what this “Irish ethos” comprises of:

    “In pretty much the same way as the British ethos manifests itself in State schools.”

    This is the closest definition we’ve got (ie “it’s not a Brit one”) from Ulick; anyone else want to have a go?

  • fin

    Driftwood, is there an additional cost to educating someone in a faith school, do faith schools have a smaller average class size? better equipment? are the teachers paid more? basically where do you and Owen feel the saving are to be made and how would they relate to the overall education budget, is it 25%, 50% savings?

    Capel Iwan school, and Roberton Primary spring to mind, in case you are going to follow Owens arguement

    Also you keep repeating that Owen is in charge of Northern Ireland, interested to hear your thoughts on democracy that makes it right for the member for North Shropshire to govern 2million people in a country where his party can’t even reach double figures in votes,hardly something to be proud off

  • fin

    Loving it Pip you are reduced to narrower and narrower answers, what are your terms for debating the performance of Ruane then, you appear capable of slagging her off easily enough so lets see a little substance, why do you think she is a rubbish minister?


  • pippakin


    I hate to be brutal but it isn’t Ruane I’ve finished with – it’s the little sheep.

  • ThomasMourne

    Sectarianism in N.I. will thrive as long as people like Ulick want to prevent children of different [or no] faiths being educated together.

    There is no reason why state schools should not follow an inclusive curriculum which addresses differences in belief and culture.

    Leave any further brainwashing of the young to those parents who see nothing wrong with a narrow-minded outlook which classifies ‘others’ as ‘not the same as us’.

  • Johnny Boy

    I don’t know about the economics of our current school system vrs integrated, but I am 100% sure that Caitríona Ruane is a blight on our political system, and in Northern Ireland, that’s saying something.

  • Ulick

    I have said I’d be quite happy for my children to educated alongside children of other faiths but I want it done so in an environment that reflects my family’s culture, identity and beilefs not those of some English blow-in or little-Ulster unionist trying to convice my children they are really not really Irish at all. When the State schools start serving my section of the community as they should do, then I’ll be quite happy to send my children to them, but at the moment they don’t so I and the majority of parents in the north will propbably continue to send our children to CCMS schools.

  • Ulick

    Paul, a school ethos is reflected in the way the school interacts with students, teachers and the community and so it manifests itself in many different ways, to many to list really. If I threw a few in for example purposes you would jump on these as trivial reasons as to why I want my children educated in a school with a particular ethos.

  • Neil

    It’s worth bearing in mind that while the idea of ending sectarianism through integrating the schools is admirable, it’s also unlikely to happen overnight.

    I went to an integrated school with 90% Protestant students for 4th and 5th year. I was subjected to some minor sectarian incidents and one serious sectarian beating.

    I would be terrified by the thought of my sweet kids getting the shit kicked out of them because some arse in Whitehall decided that we must integrate right now and sent one of them off to some ‘integrated’ state school where currently more than 4 in every 5 students was a Prod.

    In much the same way I’d imagine that many Unionist folk wouldn’t be overly keen on sending their kids to a CCMS. And rightly so. If sectarianism wasn’t a problem then the idea would have an appeal to it, but as it is I doubt many people would be keen to subject their child to the risk of sectarian harrasment and violence, many of us have suffered exactly that and understand how detrimental it can be.

    It’s all bull anyway. There is no saving to be made by forcing integration. Schools that sit empty or near empty should be closed, regardless of the faith behind the school. But to suggest a wholescale attack on Catholic schools to save money through some unexplained magic where the schools provide great value for money and sit packed to the rafters is ridiculous, and I would go along with Ulick to say, totally non-threateningly obviously, that any such attempt would be resisted robustly.

  • fin

    Baaaa, although you’ve got to admit my continuing correction of your posting on education, and dare I say your understanding of the word ‘competitive’ was totally apolitical it was just having a more rounded understanding of education in the UK.

    Shame you don’t feel comfortable discussing your dislike of Ruane, is it possibly that she is a successful female and therefore you feel anger towards her. I’ve tried to discuss your issues with you before Pip,

  • Kathy C

    Hi Pippakin, how many people in the southh are protestant… and what would the number of protestant students be in the educational system. It reminds me of Grosse Point Michigan years ago when busing was an issue to integrate schools. The majority of the community were white-so even with promoting community intergration—how many blacks would be avaiilable for grosse point schools.

  • Lionel Hutz

    It’s amazing that people see figures about segregation and assum that cost is in the education spend. I have seen figures before that suggest that our education spend is pretty much the average for the UK.

    While I’m not debating the rights and wrongs of integrated education, Owen Patterson was clearly talking nonsense. To use the examples of the two schools with about half a dozen pupils between was misleading. That had nothing to do with segregation and everything to do with the Department of Educations mismanagement.

    Ofcourse, there would probably an indirect cost attached to a segragated education system in that children grow up with their tribes which has a knock on effect later on in life. As I understand it, the greatest direct cost of our segragated society is connected with social housing.

  • pippakin


    My issues? are you sure! You only ever appear when the subject is SF you then spend however much time people give you trying to divert the thread.

    Enough of you little sheep. I should have been studying today!

  • fin

    but Pip, you know that only exists in your head, and its because you’ve been challenged, worryingly your claws come out as soon as anyone dare says you might be wrong, today for example it was a difference in political opinion most of what you were saying was factually wrong, and as you gave up the ghost of definding your errors you dropped each point

    Than with nothing left you wanted to return to the point, which I agreed with, then you didn’t like the terms.

    I offered to discuss the thread on any terms you like and you refuse.

    So why are on slugger instead of studying, and anyhoos I’ve been working all day and merely spent 15 minutes correcting you.

    Also, why to you always have to resort to insults when your authority is threatened.

    And finally I don’t come on here defending every SF thread or anything close to it, I just get annoyed at people with little intellect pontificating on subjects they know little about, sorry if its been you a few times but if the cap fits………..

    Then again maybe we can all have an amnesty

  • pippakin

    Kathy C

    Hello, as far as I can find as of 2006 the figure for Protestants of one church or another: in the south: 161,291.

    The population of the south in 2006: 4,239,848.

  • pippakin


    And it’s pure coincidence that it is always a thread about your beloved SF.

    Don’t lie to me and don’t call me names to divert attention from your intention.

    As for amnesty, there is a long list of your heroes waiting, get in line.

  • fin

    Your repeating yourself Pip, and where have I called you names, in our exchanges I see ‘sheep’ ‘little sheep’ ‘shinner sheep’ etc, but that you insulting me.

    But its not alwys a SF thread, its where I see you really plumbing the depths of whaffle and untruths, hey, you’re viciously anti-SF so maybe thats why.

    And aren’t we now away off thread again, you’ve posted more on this thread than possibly anyone else, do you actually want to discuss Ruane,

    MY heroes in line for an amnesty, what George Orwell and Dylan, not to mention Burt Lancaster, gosh you know soooo much more than me or anyone else


  • barnshee

    heineken don`t do idiots but if they did….

  • Pigeon Toes

    I”n fact I’ve found that most integrated schools are at best apathetic to Gaelic games in general and in some cases completely hostile.

    Much of the integrated sector in NI consists of failing state schools who stick an integrated sign over the door in order to secure survival and funding”

    Agreed, sometimes with little “reassuring” notes sent to parents, (when some of us requested Gaelic games) that it would be “general ball skills”. Poor kids ended up playing fecking rounders.
    The school in question had been earmarked for closure, due to falling numbers, and indeed I understand that prior to the changeover, parents were told said school would be “Integrated in name only”

    What did infuriate me, was that in order for my children not to be labelled, as one faith or the other, was that we had to assign them a particular faith.
    Even if we completed the form as Pagan/Atheist, assumptions would be made based on (as far as I can recall) my name. 🙁

    The school further claimed that they did not have to make provisions for children of non-religious parents , in direct contradiction of the rules governing Integrated status.

    Perhaps at secondary level the sharing of resources might be more easily achieved such as provision of sporting facilities etc.
    It happens already.

  • barnshee

    In what way do state schools NOT serve your ” section””

    ps the problem mysteriously disappears in places like Limavady and Ballymoney where the absence of a catholic grammar school produced a high level of uptake from the RC community in Limavady Grammar and Dalriada. When a free grammar place is on offer it would seem principles are flexible

  • Pigeon Toes

    Rainey Endowed Magherafelt being another.

    Actually all I care about now, is that my kids are well taught by people who want to educate rather than gurn about their “non contact time”

    Feck me it was ALL good , until I encountered the mind boggling Scottish Education System!!

  • Pigeon Toes
  • Paul


    You got an answer but someone seen fit to moderate-censor it. Can’t be bothered typing it out again.

  • interested

    “will fight to the death” but will they -or will we pay??

  • Reader

    Ulick: I can see from your use of the pejorative term “indoctrinated” that you disagree with my wish to have my children to be have the rich cultural experience they get in a Catholic Maintained school.
    All of my children have spent at least 7 years in the maintained sector. Three of them seem certain to spend at least 12 years in the sector, and likely more. So far all of them seem to be turning out to be happy, atheist and unionist. And in their lunch breaks they play soccer or netball.
    Your hopes, and the fears of others, concerning the maintained sector seem to be entirely misplaced. Maybe it’s all down to the GFA and the 21st Century.

  • JoeJoe

    Wow. I’m learning from you all.
    I had heard that integrated schools west of the bann, had trouble getting protestants. Is there an east-west divide or have I only heard about an exception?

    Also, why are Irish catholics worried about a mandated integrated sector now? Surely, as most children are from an Irish nationalist/catholic background, a totally integrated state-sector woulld have a very different majority/minority than in 1921?Also, education is devolved to the power-sharing assembly, so surely a new start would be cognisant of the need to represent and value both the Gaelic-Irish/Catholic and Ulster-British/Protestant cultures? With roughly-equal students from each side of the great divide, this is surely a great opportunity to get it right for everyone?

  • pippakin


    What else is one to do when browsing for information on a completely different subject one comes across this?

    Hmm, here it is for your delectation and enjoyment. By all means complain to the Telegraph little sheep but don’t bother to complain to me. No answer will be the stern reply.


  • Republic of Connaught

    I wonder in a united Ireland if most Protestants in the north will be happy to send their kids to Dublin controlled state integrated schools?