Oh dear, naughty naughty Sinn Fein…
Publicly-funded schools were warned that their premises were not to be used if it could be “regarded as aimed at canvassing for votes for any particular political party or any particular political party election candidate”.
But just days before voters went to the polls, Sinn Fein candidate Francie Molloy was filmed inside a school with Education Minister John O’Dowd – whose department issued the ban.
Here’s the Minister’s circular which reminds schools they are actually bound by statute (Regulations 6 of the Primary Schools: General Regulations (NI) 1973 and
regulation 7 of the Secondary Schools (Grant Conditions) Regulations (NI)
1973, if yer asking?).
The party didn’t just break the law once, as the Telegraph notes:
On Monday, February 11, Mr Molloy, who is also the local Sinn Fein MLA, was videoed on An Phoblacht News/Sinn Fein TV, directly outside the gates of Holy Trinity College in Cookstown, a Catholic maintained school, being endorsed by one of its teachers, Peter Canavan.
Mr Canavan, who is also a former Tyrone GAA star and now manager of Fermanagh, backed Mr Molloy in the by-election video.
In the footage he describes Mr Molloy as “a very ardent supporter of Holy Trinity College and our pursuit of a new build”.
Just 10 days later Mr Molloy was back in Holy Trinity, which sits in the Mid Ulster UK Parliament constituency, on a visit with Sinn Fein Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin.
Then, on February 25, he was snapped with Education Minister John O’Dowd at Joseph’s Primary School in Galbally – the same Co Tyrone village where Mr Molloy launched his Mid Ulster by-election campaign just three weeks earlier on February 3.
The law? What law? The British law? Oh go away or I will taunt you a second time!!
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty