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Sinn Féin will raise Education Library Board cash crisis with Barry Gardiner

8 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland and party colleague Barry McElduff will meet direct rule Education Minster Barry Gardiner today, Wednesday 8th December, at 4.30pm in Adelaide House to discuss the issue of Educational Maintenance Allowance.

The Sinn Féin delegation will also raise the issue of the cash crisis facing the Education Library Boards.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Mr Hyland said:

"Sinn Fein originally set up this meeting to discus the need to extend the availability of Educational Maintenance Allowances some time ago.

"However, recent revelations about the extent and nature of the cash crisis facing our Education & Library Boards demands a full response from the direct rule Education Minister Barry Gardiner.

"There can be no ducking the issue.

"It is clear that the Education Library Boards are facing huge financial pressures because they have not been given the resources they need to deliver the services that our children and young people need. The threat to provision for children with special educational needs is unacceptable as are the threats to warm school meals, schools transport and the many other areas of responsibility.

"It is frustrating that when I contacted Barry Gardiner's office to include a discussion of the cash crisis facing the Education Library Boards on the agenda for our meeting that they refused to accommodate a discussion on what is clearly the number one issue facing our schools.

"If Barry Gardiner doesn't think that it his job to be accountable for the desperate situation facing many of the Education Library Boards because of decisions that he has made then I don't know what he thinks his job is. Despite attempts to avoid blame for the cash crisis facing the Boards Mr Gardiner can rest assured Sinn Féin will be raising the issue." ENDS

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