Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Muir urges Education Minister to rectify contradictory and hypocritical stance concerning new Holywood Schools project

I am disappointed that the new Holywood Schools project remains stalled and am urging the Education Minister to rectify his contradictory and hypocritical stance after supporting the building of new Schools in Omagh.

People across Holywood and beyond recently received disappointing news that the Education Board plans to pursue its plan to close Redburn Primary School. I condemn without hesitation this decision by unelected Education Board Commissioners to proceed regardless of public opinion and close this valuable Primary School whilst the new Holywood Schools project remains live and ready to proceed once monies become available.

Conscious that monies may soon become available as a result of the change of circumstances concerning the A5 route upgrade project I recently wrote to the Education Minister encouraging him to bid for the new monies available to fund the new Holywood Schools Project and hopefully remove the threat of closure from Redburn Primary School.

In response I received disappointing news from the Minister outlining that;

“in any area, potential projects, such as that for the Holywood multi-schools project, will be critically assessed as part of the area based planning process”.

With work only recently started on drawing up this new area based planning process Minister O’Dowd’s response effectively means that new Schools project has yet again been stalled.

The need for the Holywood new schools project has already been clearly established with, for example, Priory Integrated College oversubscribed but having to remain in substandard premises which urgently need replaced. Planning Permission has already been obtained and, as far as I am aware, all we need is the funding to proceed.

I am therefore extremely disappointed that the Education Minister is adopting what seems to be a contradictory and hypocritical approach, supporting the plan for new school buildings and a shared campus in Omagh whilst unnecessarily delaying the new Holywood Schools project whilst yet another review is undertaken. People are fed up with excuses and delays. The Education Minister needs to intervene and give us the green light to proceed

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