Cllr Fitzpatrick said: “The President’s visit underscores the high esteem the School is held within the wider community. Her visit served to heighten pupils’ awareness and understanding of our nearest European neighbour. After all education is about widening one’s knowledge, experience and understanding of the world we live in and developing skills etc to contribute positively to it. The vast majority of people are rightly disgusted at this display of bullyboy tactics at a time when most people are trying to work together for a better future for everyone including the children attending Millburn Primary School.
“A successful and prosperous future depends upon us demonstrating to the world at large that we have moved forward out of the dark ages into a society which is confident enough to accept that people are entitled to express their opinion even when we disagree with what they say. In Mary McAleese’s case she apologised for her comments and we should be big enough to accept her apology and move on.
“John Platt is obviously a man of principle who is trying to teach the children in his care that we need to look beyond narrow sectarian boundaries to the big world outside and to face that world with confidence. It is a pity that those involved in the intimidation can’t see the damage they are causing to the children by their intolerant actions.
“We are trying to attract inward investment which will provide jobs for our children in the future but actions such as these will only persuade foreign investors that they should go elsewhere.
Cllr Fitzpatrick concluded: “I hope that parents of children attending Millburn Primary School will stand together with John Platt and demonstrate that they put their children’s future ahead of narrow minded bigotry and I hope that this was a positive experience for President McAleese as well.”