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Education of all our children is paramount - Butler MLA

22 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Paul Butler, responding to Sammy Wilson's comments objecting to the Education Minister Caitríona Ruane's proposals for children attending local schools regardless of the border, has said that he welcomes the debate surrounding All Ireland education.

Mr Butler has also underlined the need for real progress in breaking down the obstacles to mobility across the border.

Mr Butler said:

"The contradictions faced by people particularly living in border communities have been highlighted by Mr Wilson. The education of our children throughout the island of Ireland, not the border, is paramount.

"The Education Minister has made her position clear in a November circular and I would ask Mr Wilson to read this common sense approach.

"Mr Wilson stated that the Minister is clouded by her Republicanism. If he is stating that Caitríona Ruane is focusing on the central tenets of equality and inclusivity then I welcome this.

"Although this is an issue about where people educate their children the fact is that we need much more rapid progress in breaking down the obstacles to mobility across the border.

"The border has had a hugely negative impact on people's lives for generations. It has distorted economic development and divided communities. Given the new political dispensation we need to address the practical issues and we need real progress breaking down the border." ENDS

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