Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Hain accused of Education 'bully-boy' tactics

22 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Michael Ferguson MLA has called on democratically elected representatives on the Education Library Boards to stand up and defend education services against British government cuts and not allow themselves to bullied by the threats of Peter Hain.

Michael Ferguson said.

"It is wrong for the British Secretary of State to threaten and bully democratically elected representatives for challenging the historic under funding of our education system and for refusing to do their dirty work.

"Politicians here have an electoral mandate from the people. Peter Hain and Angela Smith do not have one vote in Ireland. These bully-boy tactics are not the actions of a democrat.

"Sinn Féin has been saying for over a year now that it would be irresponsible and a breech of our civic and public duty to deny special needs children their educational entitlement, to refuse children from isolated rural communities school transport, to scrap patrol crossings or to allow the schools estate to become a risk to health and safety.

"Sinn Féin will not police these budgets and we will stand firm against the bullying tactics of Direct Rule Ministers and we call on all the political representatives on the BELB and SEELB to stand firm with us in the face of British intransigence.

"If anything it is direct rule Education Minister Angela Smith who should stand down because of her abject failure to find adequate resources to meet the education entitlement of children across the five Education and Library Board areas.

"It is crucial that everyone unites against the erosion of education system by British Direct Rule Ministers. The sooner we put the Assembly back the sooner we will have a local accountable minister with a real budget to support education and learning." ENDS

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