Upper Bann Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

DUP have stood in way of equality for all in Controlled sector - O'Dowd

Published: 20 March, 2018

Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd has responded to claims by David Simpson MP in last week's paper that his 'political agenda' prevented investment in the controlled sector during Mr O' Dowd's tenure as Education Minister

Mr O'Dowd said:

'David Simpsons claims are devoid of fact. It is the DUP which have stood in the way of equality for all in the Controlled sector.

'The Dickson plan does not benefit young people in the Controlled sector and the figures for academic achievement in Lurgan and Portadown show it. Too many young people, every year, are being left behind as a result of the Dickson plan.

'During my tenure as Education Minister I put it to the then Southern Education and Library Board to bring forward a solution for all the young people in the Craigavon Controlled sector. The opposition to that simple demand for equality for all was organised and driven by the DUP .

'I could not approve new builds for the Controlled sector in Lurgan without a plan which met the needs of all the young people including those on the Lurgan Senior campus site. No such plan came forward because of the DUP campaign against such a plan!

In conclusion Mr O'Dowd said

'The DUP interest in education in Portadown and Lurgan has centred on the needs of the two Colleges instead of on the needs of all the young people in the controlled sector.

"Only last week in Westminster David Simpson showed how much interest he has in the needs of the working class when he voted to end free school meals for thousands of children in England. The DUP locally have shown the same concern for the working class community in the controlled sector."