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Ruane hailed for extending uniform scheme

1 April, 2009 - by Caitríona Ruane

Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitriona Ruane has been praised by the community sector after she confirmed that the school uniform grant would be extended to include primary school children.

Following the announcement, Ms. Ruane met with staff at Dove House Community Resource Centre in Derry on Tuesday.

Advice workers in Dove House have long campaigned for the scheme to be extended but their pleas were routinely ignored by Direct Rule Ministers.

Kathleen Bradley, advice worker at Dove House, said Caitriona Ruane’s intervention was proof that local ministers are delivering for the people.

“This demonstrates the local benefits to be gleaned for having a devolved administration in place with local accountability benefiting people at a local level,” she commented.

“At present only the parents of secondary school pupils receive a means-tested grant towards the cost of school uniforms. This is a problem that affects a large number of families from all communities.

“In a lot of cases it is not just one child but a number of children who require school uniforms and this is placing a huge burden on many families, particularly those on low incomes.”

Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson Martina Anderson MLA also praised the Minister.

The Foyle MLA said: “I have been contacted by many parents of primary school children and a number of primary school principals who felt this scheme should be extended, particularly in the current economic climate where many families are facing severe financial difficulties.

"I would like to thank the Minister for her commitment to addressing this inequality and look forward to the scheme being implemented as soon as possible.”

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