Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:-
“The admission today by the Education Minister that for 5 years under Sinn Fein there have been no powers to remove a teacher’s eligibility to teach in Northern Ireland, speaks to an unfit minister and sloppy department. This happened under Ruane’s disastrous tenure. A bit more focus on detail and less on dogma would have prevented this gaffe.
“The resulting inability of the department to remove a teacher’s right to teach, no matter what serious misconduct they might have indulged in, is a serious matter, no least in the context of child protection. A more credible explanation of how this arose, than “a breakdown in communication” within the department, is required from the minister.
“The failure to realise the import of the 2009 repeal of the department’s powers in this regard, as they existed in the Education Order of 1998, was not just a failure of the minister but also of the Education ‘Scrutiny’ Committee, which equally failed to adequately interrogate what was proposed. All round it was a failure in the exercise of devolved powers by Stormont, but primarily by the minister.
“Now, O’Dowd intends a ‘sticking plaster’ approach while new primary legislation is prepared to plug this gap. No doubt, as ever, in Stormont no one will be held accountable for this failure towards parents and pupils.”