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Minister should lift uncertainty from St Mary’s and Stranmillis – McCorley

2 February, 2015 - by Rosie McCorley

Commenting on today’s Assembly debate on funding to the further education sector, Sinn Fein's Rosie McCorley MLA, (West Belfast) has called on Further Education Minister, Stephen Farry to lift the uncertainty around the future of St Mary’s Teacher Training College by reinstating the Premia funding.

Ms McCorley said:

 "The Minister's arbitrary decision to remove the Premia funding for St Mary’s and Stranmillis is an attack on the staff and students and the excellent standards of education provided by these training colleges.

“I can appreciate there are financial pressures on all government spending and the need for efficiency.

“But I do not accept the minister’s rationale in targeting institutions that provide a valuable contribution to the educational well-being of our communities, to cultural and linguistic life and to the local economy.

“St Mary’s, in my own constituency of West Belfast, is also the only further education facility that provides training specifically for the Irish medium sector.

“The minister must remove the uncertainty and recognise that the colleges are valued and valuable to those being trained there, as well as future generations who will benefit from that training.

 "The stress and uncertainty the staff have been dealing with for a number of years around the future of the Training College as an autonomous institution of higher education should not be underestimated.

"The people of West Belfast also require reassurance that a significant employer in the area is here to stay."

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