News

Sinn Féin ministers approve 100 school closures in 8 years

SINN Féin is being accused of refusing to make tough decisions - but its ministers have approved the closure of more than 100 schools in less than eight years.

A staggering 123 primary, secondary and special schools - almost one in 10 across the north - have disappeared since efforts to tackle empty desks began.

All but 12 of these decisions, which followed an independent review of the school system, were taken by Sinn Féin ministers.

The Bain report recommended that schools with roll-calls below new minimum thresholds should be subject to review.

Yesterday First Minister Peter Robinson blamed Sinn Féin for the financial crisis gripping Stormont, claiming it was not prepared to "take hard decisions" on issues such as welfare reform.

But as the head of the civil service formally warned the treasury that the executive is on course to go into the red, education minister John O'Dowd said welfare legislation should be brought before the assembly.

? Full reports ? P6,16 ? Editorial ? P20