RSDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has slammed the education minister after he approved closure of Immaculate Conception College in Derry.
Closure will be on a phased basis starting in September, with complete shut down by August 31 2015, John O’Dowd announced earlier (Wednesday 28th May).
Mr Ramsey, who fought alongside campaigners to keep the school open, claimed closure will set education in the city back 30 years with Catholics being taught in the West Bank and Protestants in the east.
The Foyle MLA said, “I am bitterly disappointed and angry at the minister’s decision, which he conveniently kept until after the Local Government and European elections.
“It is a bitter blow for education in our city; and will be extremely upsetting for parents and staff who fought so hard to keep the school open. Closure of Immaculate College will leave parents with few alternatives because the schools that are available are vastly oversubscribed.
“Immaculate Conception College epitomizes everything about the best use of a school estate by local groups - community and sporting. This is the wrong decision. Morale has, for some time, been at rock bottom among staff and students. This news is the final blow for them. The minister has let them and the people of Derry down.”
Mr Ramsey added, “I find it hypocritical, albeit unsurprising that on the day the education minister announces the closure of Immaculate College in Derry his colleagues in the South are demanding social impact studies in the wake of cuts. I did not see any such concern from John O’Dowd here, even after he was confronted with a petition that contained the names of huge numbers of local residents staunchly opposed to the closure of Immaculate Conception College.”