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Concern at impact of NEELB cuts

6 December, 2004

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA, Philip McGuigan, has expressed serious concerns with the continuing funding crisis within the Education sector. His comments come after the NEELB became the latest board to announce a shortfall in funding over the next 3 years.

Mr McGuigan said:

"I am very concerned that services currently in existence within schools may have to be cut. We cannot allow central government underfunding to affect any aspect of our children's education.

"At present the boards are being asked to make cuts, as are our local schools which can only have a detrimental impact on our children. Just today a number of Local Boards of Governors received letters from Barry Gardiner asking them to produce savings to their budgets.

"Mr Gardiner, like his Direct Rule partners, should not be allowed to carry on making bad decisions that will have grave detrimental economic and social consequences for the people of the Six Counties.

"These local decisions should be made by locally elected representatives and they should be made on the basis of the British government producing a peace dividend to make up for the 30 years of underfunding of services in the North."

Mr McGuigan is to meet the Chief Executive of NEELB in Ballymena this week to discuss the funding crisis and a number of other local educational issues. ENDS

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