Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ruane mayhem due a bad minister and a failing system

Are there are no bounds to Caitriona Ruane’s irresponsibility and incompetence? Unable to negotiate an end to academic selection she has presided over dismantlement of an imperfect, but tested, system and its replacement by deregulation, chaos and confusion.

In 2010, rather than one means of regulated selection for post primary schools, there will be a myriad of different tests, devised by various grammar schools and groups of grammar schools, allied to a range of unenforceable ‘guidelines’ which the minister ‘unveiled’ yesterday as if they were a coherent alternative to the Eleven Plus.

Constrained by an ideological straightjacket Ruane has been unable and unwilling either to compromise or accept that her position is untenable. She has provided a one woman demonstration why the current executive arrangements are unworkable in the longer term.

Ulster Unionist ministers, Sir Reg Empey and Michael McGimpsey have pointed out that Ruane has not only made a nonsense of the idea of collective responsibility within the Executive, she has also shown the contempt with which ministers can treat majority views expressed by the Assembly.

The system of government which has developed in Northern Ireland not only lacks any credible democratic credentials and has dispensed with notions of accountability; it is unable even to hold its members in check or enforce notional requirements for consensus.

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