Alliance Education Spokesperson and Assembly Member, Cllr Naomi Long, has expressed outrage at emerging news that dozens of school crossing patrols are to be axed in cost-cutting exercises by the Belfast Education and Library Board.
Naomi Long, who has been actively campaigning to recruit additional staff and address long-term vacancies in East Belfast, and is a recognised
campaigner for roads safety issues, has said she is appalled that money is yet again being put before children’s safety.
Naomi Long said, “The decision by the General Purpose and Finance Committee of the Board to axe crossing patrols, starting with lunch-time patrols and extending to all patrols on roads where there are pelican crossings, is inevitably going to put children’s lives at risk.
“I understand the financial pressure that the Boards are under, but this axing of crossing patrols is outrageous. What price can you put on a child’s life?
“The Ministers for Education, Regional Development and the Environment, who jointly have responsibility for roads safety issues involving school children, need to sit down with the Board now and find the money to keep our school children safe on their way to and from school.
“If the Minister is happy to launch programmes such as ‘Safe Routes to Schools’, then let him take this opportunity to show how committed he really is to the safety of our children, by sitting down with the Boards and dealing with this education crisis so that parents can feel confident allowing their children to walk to school.
“In the continuing battle between the Education Boards and the Minister, the only losers are the children, whose education and safety is being put at risk.”