Robinson Repeats Appeal For Integration

The North's top politician, Peter Robinson, has again called for integrated education to be a priority.

The Stormont First Minister said at the weekend that it was time to build a new Northern Ireland.

Pictured here at a visit to one of the first integrated schools, Lagan College, he has also called for Catholics and Protestants to unite to end sectarian division.

Peter Robinson made the comments at the annual DUP conference and said it was time to build a new Northern Ireland.

"The conflict of this last 40 years has created terrible divisions," he said.

"It became a case of 'them and us' and that attitude deepened divisions even further.

"If we want a better society it can't be them and us - it can only be all of us."

While the DUP leader also pledged his support for victims of the Troubles and said he would not allow republicans to "rewrite the past", Mr Robinson also said there was a need for a shared education system.

"The DUP's ambition will be the laughter of all our children, playing and living together, with a future that doesn't see them having to leave our shores, but wanting to live here, in Northern Ireland, within the United Kingdom," he added.

The DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds also said the party wants to build on the progress that has been made in Northern Ireland.

"We need to build a society now which is more integrated, more shared," he said.

NI Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland and Health Minister Edwin Poots also addressed the conference.

Mr Poots told delegates he was not afraid of taking the hard decisions needed in the health service.

Mr McCausland indicated that he might mimic Scotland by handing out yellow card warnings to Housing Executive tenants involved in anti-social behaviour, among other issues examined.

His party leader and First Minister however returned again to inclusion and said: "We want to see respect given to our varied and colourful traditions.

"We want people to be able to express their culture with tolerance and respect, mindful of those who don't share those values.

"And we want people who don't share those values to show tolerance and respect to those who do.

"We are the first generation of peacetime unionists for many decades," he said.

His call for inclusive education comes just over a year after he denounced church schools as a "benign form of apartheid".

He said in October 2010 that "we cannot hope to move beyond our present community divisions while our young people are educated separately".


The Alliance party's Chief Whip Stewart Dickson MLA has since called on Mr Robinson to 'deliver on his party conference speech on a shared future'.

"Talk is easy, if he really believes in what he told his party's conference then he has to deliver on it in the Executive."

See: End NI's RC Schools, Says Robinson


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