‘One rule for some, another rule for others’

Local school head angry as Education Minister attends leavers’ event in Belfast
Cumber Claudy PS principal Nick Tomlinson.Cumber Claudy PS principal Nick Tomlinson.
Cumber Claudy PS principal Nick Tomlinson.

A Derry school principal has accused NI Education Minister Peter Weir of ‘breathtaking hypocrisy’ after he attended a P7 leavers’ event in an apparent breach of his own department’s Covid 19 restrictions.

Nick Tomlinson, of Cumber Claudy PS, says the DUP politician’s actions smacked of “one rule for some and another rule for others.”

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“Perhaps Mr Weir takes a ‘Dominic Cummings’ approach to such matters, believing that legal advice and directives do not apply to him, or to certain schools in the greater Belfast area,” said an angry Mr Tomlinson.

He added: “Parents have contacted me in recent weeks because they wanted to find out if we could host our annual ‘leavers’ lunch’ or, if not, organise something else for the end of June to supplement our hastily arranged leavers’ assembly we had before lockdown. In response, quoting guidance issued by the department, I had to explain to them that a face to face event couldn’t happen until restrictions were eased.

“Having followed the guidance from the Department of Education, which made it absolutely clear that indoor gatherings of more than six people for Primary 7 leavers are a ‘breach of legislation’, I was surprised to read that Peter Weir was at such an indoor gathering earlier this week.

“I would like to invite Peter Weir to my school to explain to the P7 pupils and parents why leavers’ events, prohibited to us, are allowed at a school in Belfast and get the support and attendance of the Minister. He may be able to let them know why legal advice that applies to us apparently does not apply to him.”

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In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “The Minister attended a prize giving event at a primary school on Monday. Awards were presented inside the school hall due to poor weather. Appropriate social distancing measures were in place at all times, including the use of gloves and hand sanitizer. Pupils were brought in one at a time with their family to receive their award at an appropriate distance from those attending the event.”