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Meeting hears that failure to elect a local Education Minister will cause great anger

20 April, 2006

Sinn Fein Education Spokepserson Michael Ferguson has said that there is growing anger and frustration amongst educationalists about the possibility of political parties failing to elect a local Education Minister in the weeks following the recall of the Assembly on May 15th. Michael Ferguson’s comments come after a meeting in Dungannon last night where the Party’s Education & Library Board Representatives met to discuss the current situation on the Five Boards following new budget cuts."

Commenting upon the meeting Michael Ferguson said,

  “ Sinn Fein’s Education & Library Board Representatives have refused to support any budget cuts and will now refuse to implement them. It is unfortunate that the other political parties could not ensure that their own members did likewise on the NELB, SELB and WELB were sadly the SDLP, DUP and UUP either abstained or supported the cuts unlike their own party colleagues on the BELB and SEELB were all the parties remained united in opposition to the cuts imposed by the Direct Rule Ministers”   “ Our Education & Library Board representatives also wrote to all schools in every sector outlining Sinn Fein’s opposition to the cuts while seeking support at Council’s across the Six Counties to set up ‘working groups’ to support education providers. It is clear from this outreach that there is growing frustration and anger at the prospects of the Assembly on May 15th not appointing a new local Education Minister".   “ Last night’s meeting learnt that in excess of £21 million pounds of cuts are currently due to be implanted across the five board areas and the cost will rise to over £30 million as the cost of redundancies is added. Sinn Fein members will not only refuse to implement these cuts but we will also be reassuring everyone in the education sector that we are prepared to support the appointment of an Education Minister following the Assembly recall on May 15th”.ENDS  

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