Archive for June, 2008

Hermon Comments on Post-Primary Shortfall

“The full extent of the shortfall in post-primary school places in North Down has become apparent this week and I’ve been contacted by many anxious parents seeking my help in securing a suitable school place for their child.  I’m very sorry indeed that such young children and their parents have been caused an immeasurable amount of stress and upset, when better forward planning by the Board could well have averted this situation.

Put bluntly, it’s wholly unacceptable for the South Eastern Education & Library Board to compel young children from North Down to travel to Belfast, Lisburn or beyond to attend school, and I’m astonished at the lack of foresight in planning by the Board.

As the cases mount on my desk, I’ll certainly be maintaining pressure on the SEELB to ensure that money is found to fund additional school places locally for all the children affected by this shortfall.”

June 4th, 2008

Hermon Comments on Groomsport Post Office Closure

Speaking following the announcement by Post Office Limited confirming the closure of Groomsport’s Post Office, Lady Hermon said:

“News of the closure of Groomsport Post Office will come as a bitter disappointment to all those who have campaigned tirelessly to save it.  In this context, I should like to pay particular tribute to all the villagers who fought so valiantly to keep open the door of their Post Office. 

Even if we have lost this round of the fight, all is not yet lost.  The next round is to make sure there’s an ‘outreach’ Post Office provided in the heart of Groomsport.

From the outset, I made it absolutely clear to senior officials within Post Office Ltd that, if Groomport Post Office were to close – a decision I strongly opposed – then it was incumbent upon them to ensure that post office services were still made available in the village, albeit on a limited number of days.

So, it’s something of a consolation to read in its statement that Post Office Ltd has itself acknowledged that it is ‘currently exploring the possibility of…a form of Outreach Service.’  Our task now is to strive to make this possibility a reality for Post Office users in Groomport.  That’s my aim.”

June 3rd, 2008

MP Critical of Transfer Test ‘Shambles’

North Down’s MP, Lady Hermon, has today criticised Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, for the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Transfer Test in Northern Ireland.  She said:

“I’m very frustrated and angry with the shambles created by the current Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane.  Her various statements and announcements at the Assembly have only served to create more uncertainty, not less.  Frankly, I’m now at the stage where I feel as if I need ‘sat-nav’ to navigate my way through the myriad of consultations, reviews, proposals and meaningless rhetoric.

However, since the Chairman of the Education Committee, Sammy Wilson, and I are both members of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee at Westminster, I’ve had regular opportunities to voice my criticisms and concerns to him about what appears to be deaf ears turned by the Education Minister to the majority of parents who wish to retain academic selection.

The fact the Sinn Fein has embarked this week upon a course of action that may well precipitate a crisis within the Assembly does nothing whatsoever to help this situation, unless of course it brings about a change of Education Minister.”

June 3rd, 2008