Local MP, Lady Hermon, has described her “delight” at last Thursday’s visit to the Houses of Parliament by a group from Bangor Grammar School.
The group - made up of 36 politics and drama pupils and four members of staff - spent the morning in the Palace of Westminster, where the North Down MP had arranged for them to meet Boris Johnson, Kate Hoey and Lembit Opik from the main political parties. They were also facilitated in observing debates from the public gallery in both the House of Commons and House of Lords.
Speaking after the school’s visit, Lady Hermon said: “Since North Down is one of those Parliamentary constituencies far from Westminster, it’s a matter of great regret to me that few school groups ever make it to London to learn at first-hand about the workings of the ‘Mother of Parliaments’.
So, I was absolutely delighted last Thursday to be able to welcome a delegation of enthusiastic Bangor Grammar School pupils to the House of Commons, and also arrange for them to have a tour of Number 10 Downing Street later in the afternoon.
I’m very grateful indeed to my Parliamentary colleagues, Boris Johnson, Kate Hoey and Lembit Opik not only for making time to meet the Bangor Grammar group, but also for living up to their reputations as lively speakers. Politicians often say election campaigns are easier than being ‘grilled’ by students, but on this occasion my fellow MPs survived the experience with obvious good humour.
Without Mr Joe Wilson and his staff colleagues, who organised and accompanied the boys to London, none of this would have been possible, and so I commend them all warmly for their professionalism and dedication in organising such a successful trip to London.”
December 12th, 2006
Following a highly successful two-day visit by the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee, the Ulster Unionist MP, Lady Sylvia Hermon, has expressed her pleasure at the success of IMPACT, a local restorative justice group in her constituency. She said:
“At a time when restorative justice schemes are under significant scrutiny, it’s great to be able to trumpet one that passes with flying colours, not least because IMPACT is working and succeeding in the Bangor area.
Fellow MPs from the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee came to Kilcooley - the third largest housing estate in the Province - specifically to hear about IMPACT’s achievements in reducing petty crime. Indeed, they heard local police officers praise the work of IMPACT, and more that one MP commented on the appropriateness of IMPACT’s title.”
On the second day of the Committee’s visit, the Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde and Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris were questioned in public session at the Stormont Hotel. In their evidence, they were supportive of the availability of restorative justice schemes throughout Northern Ireland in order to turn young people away from a path of criminality at the very earliest opportunity.
Commenting after the session, Lady Hermon said: “I found the evidence of these two most senior police officers refreshing and very encouraging as regards restorative justice schemes. Unfortunately, success has not guaranteed funding and adequate funding has become a really serious problem. It isn’t simply a case of stifling the expansion of the IMPACT scheme in Bangor, but inadequate funding is now threatening IMPACT’s very existence.
Despite this, I will continue to work to support IMPACT and other restorative justice successes, and would urge the local business community to get actively involved in backing this success story.”
December 6th, 2006