Patrick Kielty announced as latest patron for integrated education
Patrick Kielty has been named the newest patron of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE).
Mr Kielty said he was delighted to publicly endorse integrated education and explained the decision was influenced by a recent visit to Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle, Co Down.
"If we want to change the future we need to start with our kids, letting them discover what they have in common," he said.
"When I visited Shimna Integrated College earlier this year it was great to see young people with opposing political opinions freely expressing themselves as friends. We’re one society made up from different backgrounds, not two communities. Let’s celebrate it and move forward together."
NICIE chief executive officer, Roisin Marshall said it was a "great honour" to receive Mr Kielty's support.
"We are extremely grateful to him for supporting the cause of Integrated Education. It is a great honour and endorses the work that we do in aiming to create a better future for our children by ensuring that as many Catholic, Protestant and other families as possible can avail of integrated education."
Existing NICIE patrons also include Sir Kenneth Branagh, BBC presenter Holly Hamilton and radio broadcaster Conor Philips.