Long slams minister’s snub to parents

Alliance Deputy Leader Naomi Long has expressed her anger at the decision of the Education Minister to cancel a meeting with parents and local politicians concerned about the proposed closure of Lisnasharragh High School in East Belfast at less than 8 hours notice and her refusal to reschedule it for another date. Maria Eagle was due to meet with the delegation this afternoon but instead remained in England and the meeting was instead taken by the Permanent Secretary after a request for a rescheduling of the meeting was refused by the Minister.

The East Belfast MLA said: “I am very disappointed by the Minister’s decision to cancel this meeting with parents and local politicians. I understand that, on occasion, meetings do have to be cancelled at short notice; however, what I fail to understand is her refusal to reschedule the meeting. Whilst elected representatives do have the opportunity to meet with Ministers on a reasonably frequent basis, for the parents of Lisnasharragh School, this was their only opportunity to speak directly to the person who will ultimately take such a momentous decision about the school which their children attend. Her refusal to

reschedule is particularly disappointing given that the Minister has also turned

down a number of invitations to visit the school and meet the pupils and

parents who will be directly affected by her decision.

“I would again extend an invitation to the Minister to attend the school and meet with the parents and teachers so that she can make a truly informed decision on the proposal for closure. Surely that is the least that the parents, pupils and teachers deserve.

“This whole episode again demonstrates the problems with part-time Ministers being flown in to take decisions. What we need are locally accountable ministers directly responsible to the electorate and the restoration of the Assembly.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *