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Robinson attack on catholic education challenged

17 October, 2010 - by John O'Dowd

Commenting on Peter Robinson’s speech on education last night, Sinn Féin Assembly member John O’Dowd said that it was ‘little more than a thinly disguised sectarian attack on Catholic education, parents and children’

Mr O’Dowd said:

“Last night Peter Robinson sought to disguise a DUP sectarian attack on Catholic schools, teachers, parents and children in the language of inclusivity. Nobody is fooled. The venue for his speech speaks more about the DUPs dedication to equality than any speech. Castlereagh Council under the governorship of the DUP is hardly basked in glory when it comes to non sectarianism and equality.

The DUP do not seek an Integrated education system they seek the end of the Catholic education sector, there is a difference. The DUP look upon the catholic education sector as conspiracy against the northern state. They seek all our children to be educated in the image of a protestant state for a protestant people.

“Is anyone seriously suggesting that Peter Robinson is in any position to dictate to Catholic parents how they should educate their children when he leads a party who refuses to respect the rights of Irish language speakers or, who day and daily, insults the GAA. A party that believes that creationism is a scientific fact and that children should be separated at 11 by a discredited test designed in the 1940s.

“Mr Robinson speech was made in the context of how to save money, again his theory is flawed, The Catholic sector provide a school property portfolio of millions if not billions of pounds towards education. Where does Mr. Robinson suggest the Executive gets the sort of money required to buy out the Catholic education sector?

“Peter Robinson needs to get real, if he is serious about modernising the education sector he needs to challenge the no men in his ranks who have stopped the change and savings which could be delivered under ESA rather than moving onto their flawed agenda.

"Sinn Féin will defend the rights of parents and children to educational choice and we will not allow a petty sectarian DUP agenda to contaminate the education system.” ENDS

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