Irish President In Old School Return

The Irish Republic's President, Mary McAleese has been welcomed to her home town by the North's Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane.

She was greeted by the Stormont Executive Minister as she helped to open new accommodation provided at the school that she herself attended as a Belfast teenager, St Dominic's High School, Belfast.

Ms Ruane also used the occasion as the £16.3m extension to the west Belfast grammar school was officially opened to again underline that NI had ended all academic selection.

The NI Minister spoke at the opening, which was performed by the President (pictured here) and said: "This new accommodation for St Dominic's is an example of what can be achieved with vision, foresight and hard work.

"It provides a wonderful environment in which the pupils can learn and prepare for their futures. I wish everyone associated with the school every success in their education and chosen careers.

"This school and the community it serves have the right to modern, educational facilities and are absolutely entitled to the allocated funding.

"As Education Minister, I recognise and defend that right. However, the right to draw down large amounts of public investment carries with it responsibilities, including the responsibility to play a full and willing part in meeting the needs of all children in this community, not just the academically gifted and able.

"Academic selection is a failed system, socially and educationally," she added, noting, "St Dominic's High School is now fully equipped to enable it to deliver the curriculum and meet the needs of its pupils for many years to come," she said.


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