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Academic selection meeting a publicity stunt

14 October, 2009 - by John O'Dowd


Sinn Féin MLA and education spokesperson, John O’Dowd has today dismissed the meeting of several of the political parties on academic selection as a publicity stunt by some of the parties involved and as an attempt at levering some amount of credibility on their failed positions in terms of academic selection

Speaking today Mr O’Dowd said:

“Today’s meeting on academic selection is inspired by the recent focus by the Belfast Telegraph, who are clearly an organ of the pro selection lobby, as an attempt to grab another headline.

"The 11plus lobby need to understand their days of having an unhealthy influence in the corridors of power is over and done with, the 11plus is gone and their era is over.

“The ridiculousness of the situation is clear. This meeting is being held at 12 o’clock today. At 2 o’clock today the parties represented at this meeting will sit on the education committee, the very same committee that over the past two years has had ample opportunity to find consensus and discuss the critical issues affecting education and our children.

“On top of that the same parties are represented on the Executive where education proposals were blocked from discussion by the DUP. What is ironic is that proposal to phase in the abolition of academic selection was on the table when the minister brought forward compromise proposals for discussion to the Executive.

 "The DUP and UUP rejected the proposal and the SDLP accused the Minister of a climb down because she sought compromise.

“Let’s be clear. Sinn Fein have never stymied debate on this issue. What today’s meeting represents is a publicity stunt and an attempt by some of these parties to lever some amount of credibility on their failed positions on academic selection. They have blocked change and have failed to provide leadership on our children’s educational needs and this is an attempt to look squeaky clean on this vital issue.”

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