McGreevy angry at Clontifleece ‘disaster’

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Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
Community, Politics
The refusal by Sinn Fein Minister of Education John O’Dowd to keep open Clontifleece Primary school has been described as ‘a disaster for the local community’.

SDLP Councillor Connaire McGreevy

SDLP Councillor Connaire McGreevy said the attitude of the Minister in not respecting the views of the people of the area represented the actions of a ‘cynical political dictator’. And Mr. McGreevy said what he described as “the sickening silence of local Sinn Fein activists showed them up as puppet politicians.” It was, he said, yet “another classic example of the way that hard line republican doctrine is not allowed to be sacrificed even if little children are the ultimate victims.” He blasted “God help us if this is the latest example of Sinn Fein educational strategy. By running away from their responsibility to the community they have again shown that they are the masters of hypocrisy and double standards. “It is clear they need to get some form of backbone transplant. But instead of doing the decent thing and challenge what they privately admit is a bad decision they allow their Stormont masters to pull all the strings.” Councillor McGreevy said the local community deserved clarity on the future of primary school provision. “The generations of families, not just the present group of children directly affected by the penny pinching attitude of the Minister have been betrayed. Their views have been trampled into the ground in order to satisfy the Sinn Fein educational agenda. “Minister O’Dowd has a reputation in the Department of Education as a man who uses his position of authority to shout down and effectively bully anybody who dares to question his views. One only has to see the attitude of Sinn Fein over the question of saving Clontifleece PS to realise that reputation is well deserved. “What is even more disgusting is the acceptance by the local Sinn Fein activists of the policy adopted by their fellow Sinn Fein colleague. The local Sinn Fein activists keep rolling out oily words in a pathetic attempt to try and pretend that they really support the parents and pupils in their attempt to keep open the vital local educational resource that is Clontifleece PS. “But all we need to hear is whether or not they are prepared to support the Minister’s point blank refusal to use his powers to keep the school open. “It is a question of yes or no,” Mr. McGreevy said. Councillor McGreevy said the attitude of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill, also needed to be placed in the spotlight. “She has gone on record as saying that the rural school is at the hub of the community. “It must follow therefore that the closure of a school with the community identification that Clontifleece has will obviously have a hugely negative impact on the wider area.” Mr. McGreevy said he intended writing to Minister O’Dowd with two suggestions. “I want him to review the closure decision and I want him to have the courage to use his powers to intervene. We need to have an educational base in the Rostrevor area that is capable of meeting the needs of a new century. “The community cannot be expected to continue the suffering of the neglect piled upon them by three successive Sinn Fein Ministers of Education over the years,” Councillor McGreevy added. “It is now time to affirm that the money is ring fenced for a new primary school in Rostrevor and is not dependent on other factors.
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