Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin calls for action to address crisis in education

14 June, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, MP for West Belfast lead a party delegation to meet with the Minister for Education this morning. Mr Adams was joined by Sinn Féin colleagues Michael Ferguson, MLA, party spokesperson on Education, Thomas O Reilly, MLA, and Cllr. Claire McGill, both members of the Western Education & Library Board.

After the meeting, Mr Adams said that it is now vital that the Minister of Education seeks additional funding to address the very real crisis in our education system.

"There current crisis in our education system means that the core services which the boards have a responsibility to deliver cannot be provided and that the education of our children is being damaged. Those who will suffer the most in this context will be those children with the greatest need. This is unacceptable. Whatever the origins of the current crisis it is the primary responsibility of the education minister to defend the education of our children. We reminded the Minister that her own Prime Minster declared his priorities as 'education, education and education' and urged her to go to the Treasury to secure the resources required to address the current crisis in the north of Ireland.

"This situation in unfair particularly when contrasted with the British government announcement of hundreds of millions of pounds of additional expenditure on school services in England. Yet here the crisis in funding means that we are not just failing to improve our provision - we are now moving backwards. This is about the rights of our children and the rights of everyone working within the education system.

"This is the cost of direct rule. I believe that we could and should be making these important decisions √ that local democratically mandated and accountable politicians can do a better job particularly when it comes to challenging the British government and British Treasury.

"In the negotiations before Christmas, both the British and Irish governments accepted the arguments about the need for a genuine peace dividend. If they accepted the arguments for investment to tackle the huge infrastructure deficits across all our public services and the legacy of the conflict then it stands that the case for a Peace Dividend has been won and accepted by the two governments." ENDS

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