CRAIGAVON’S Deputy Mayor has joined the chorus of “hypocrisy” against the DUP who launched a campaign a fortnight ago to protect the Dickson Plan for Education in Craigavon.
Alderman Arnold Hatch is “bemused by the DUP’s mock gesture in support of the plan”, adding, “They lost all moral authority to speak on this matter when they shamefully voted with Sinn Fein in the Assembly last year in support of the Education Bill, a draft piece of legislation which is more threatening to the Dickson Plan than any other piece of legislation”.
The Deputy Mayor went on, “The DUP slavishly supported the Sinn Fein inspired Bill, which is riddled with flawed political ideologies, and which could do away with NI’s grammar schools, voluntary grammar schools and Royal schools, including the Dickson Plan for post primary schools in Craigavon.
“While the DUP might think that collecting signatures locally will protect our local education system, maybe they should be more up front with people about the role they play in Stormont where - time-after-time - they support Education Minister John O’Dowd’s flawed policies. If they were serious about protecting the Dickson Plan, they would have voted with my party (UUP) in trying to reject attempts to set up an almighty and unaccountable Education and Skills Authority.”
Alderman Hatch posed the question why “our double-jobbing MLAs” (Stephen Moutray and Sydney Anderson, both DUP) stood on the establishment on the new authority, claiming, “They can’t vote for this Bill on one hand and then purport to be saving the Dickson Plan on the other hand. I have checked on their voting records from October 15, 2012 and see they both shamefully went through the same voting lobby as their colleagues in Sinn Fein.”
He ended by saying that the UUP’s education spokesman Danny Kinahan showed “a better way forward by trying to change the Education Bill to safeguard more Controlled (State) schools and the education system in Craigavon.”