O’Dowd invite to prize giving rescinded

Simon Doyle has an interesting story in today’s Irish News.

The Education Minister, John O’Dowd was invited to be the guest of honour at Parkhall Integrated College at their annual prize giving ceremony. I remember when I was  in first year, my school scoring David Trimble as First Minister to come in and chat to us and it really is a real coup when any minister comes into recognise the work being done by students and teachers.

Back to the story, O’Dowd’s invitation was however, rescended after an Ulster Unionist Councillor, Adrian Watson, who is on the board of governors of the school objected to the invite, threatening to stay away if O’Dowd attended. The paper reports that Watson thought that O”Dowd was not a good role model. I am not exactly sure what O’Dowd has done to not be a good role model for students, but there you go.

Now we get to the pure farce of the story as Simon Doyle reports that even after O’Dowd had been uninvited, Watson still did not attend the prize giving. Watson told the Irish News that the prize giving was not about Sinn Fein, but that he did not believe that having a political guest speaker could offend people.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs