Education Library Boards - Scrap the Debt
Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson MLA has said that the £69 million under spend in the Department of Education Budget should be used to scrap the debt facing the Education Library Boards.
Sinn Féin Mayor of Down District Council, Cllr Willie Clarke MLA also called for the immediate reinstatement of Special Education Needs services in the South Eastern Education Library Board area.
Mr Ferguson said:
"The approach of Direct Rule to the deficits facing the Education Library Boards and the loss of important frontline services, particularly for children with special needs is a disgrace.
"There is a clear case for a special approach to the situation facing the Boards. We do not need an approach that only widens the democratic deficit and compounds the problems created by a legacy of under funding. What we need is flexible approach that prioritises the retention and development of key services.
"All of this only strengthens the demand for a return of the Assembly and locally accountable ministers. Last week I told Arlene Foster that the refusal of the DUP to get the Executive up and running was damaging Education services. When I hear Peter Robinson complain about a democratic deficit I just wonder how long the DUP will continue to try and hold us all to ransom and how long they can continue to justify their failure of leadership in the face of this attack on the education of our children.
Down District Mayor Willie Clarke added:
"The loss of services in the SEELB area, particularly for children with special education needs will have an immediate and long lasting impact.
"The sacking of the board and replacement with commissioners costing £500 a day will only compound the debt facing the board.
"This approach is fundamentally undemocratic.
"We need a commitment to the immediate reinstatement of Special Education Needs services in the South Eastern Education Library Board." ENDS