In the interests of impartiality, how about a little praise for the DUP? It’s pretty infrequently that there is cause to hand any out. Still, the party has not yet reverted to type on the education issue.
Indeed when the Alliance party proposed a motion at Stormont calling on Caitriona Ruane to actively promote an integrated and shared education system in Northern Ireland, the DUP provided the backing needed to pass that motion.
Less worthy of applause, on this occasion, were the SDLP, Sinn Féin and, disappointingly, the UUP, who all backed an amendment seeking to water down the resolution. The existing sectors should be encouraged to interact more, rather than amalgamate, according to the amendment.
The motion was passed without any alteration and rightly so. The Belfast Agreement called for progress on integrating education and housing and the original motion is only a restatement of existing obligations which the Education Minister refuses to carry out.
Her preference is for a fragmented system and asking existing sectors to share a little, rather than properly integrate offers her a get out. Actually the motion should have been much stronger and called for a genuinely secular, integrated state system.
It’s disappointing that three parties chose to be mealy mouthed about a commitment to shared education.