Monday 20 November 2017

An Education Minister is sent to the naughty step - but it's not Jan

John O Dowd, Minister for Education Northern Ireland
John O Dowd, Minister for Education Northern Ireland
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

The Education Minister rose to speak, and all of a sudden the hall was awash with placards protesting swingeing cuts to education. The forest of signs held up silently were inscribed with slogans deploring the slashing of budgets to a whole assortment of areas, from early years funding and to school maintenance.

However - mirabile dictu - it wasn't Jan O'Sullivan who faced the ring of ire from the Irish National Teachers Association (INTO) in County Clare yesterday, but her counterpart from across the border, Northern Ireland's education minister John O'Dowd. In contrast, the local (in every sense of the word) minister received a welcome which teetered perilously towards being (ahem) classed as 'warm'.

Now this was a bit of a turn-up for the exercise-books. For in recent fraught times Education Ministers doing the Easter Stations of the Cross around the Synchronised Moaning circuit, aka the teachers' union conferences have been awarded welcomes spanning from torrid (and not in a good way) to arctic.

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