‘Minority schools losing out’ - CoI Minister

Sue Doherty

Reporter:

Sue Doherty

Pupils, parents and staff at a Church of Ireland primary school were left feeling “quite disappointed” when no elected officials turned up to acknowledge the school’s achievement in earning its fourth consecutive Green Flag.

Pupils, parents and staff at a Church of Ireland primary school were left feeling “quite disappointed” when no elected officials turned up to acknowledge the school’s achievement in earning its fourth consecutive Green Flag.

Rev. John Deane, Chairperson of the Board of Management of Wood National School, Ardara told the Donegal Democrat yesterday that the lack of support for the school was keenly felt.

“The fourth Green Flag was a big achievement for the school. The pupils and staff have put a lot of work into it over the years and we always try to make a big occasion of it when the flag is raised. We invite as many people as possible - families, locals, TDs and councillors.

“In fairness, some elected officials did contact us to let us know they would not be able to make it but there were quite a few that we never heard from at all.

“Staff, pupils and parents were disappointed, especially as small rural schools are facing such difficult times, with cutbacks and increases in the pupil teacher ratio. Everyone felt that it would have been nice for some elected officials to come along and show their support for the school, especially as a lot of our politicians are issuing statements about the importance of schools in rural communities.

“We’re particularly badly affected by the cutbacks, as a small minority school. Our schools are widely scattered and are a very important part of our community in the same way that Gaeltacht schools are.”

Meanwhile a Donegal priest has welcomed the intervention by a unionist politician in the British parliament over the issue of cuts to Protestant schools. Father John Joe Duffy said the intervention into the debate by Lord Kilclooney was welcome at a time when the Protestant schools are feeling isolated. Lord Kilclooney, who as John Taylor was the Deputy lead of the Ulster Unionist Party, has raised the issue in the House of Lords where he asked whether the Irish government is complying with it human rights obligations under the Good Friday Agreement with it proposals “to curtail financial support for Protestant schools”.

See page 4.