Reprieve for Tyrone school
By Simon Caldwell THE GOVERNMENT has rescinded its decision to close a Catholic village 'school in Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness's Northern Ireland constituency after parents took the matter to the High Court.
On the first day of a two-day hearing at Belfast High Court, the Department for Education back-tracked on its decision to close down 57-pupil St Mary's Primary School in Lisbuoy, Carland, Co. Tyrone, because it was not satisfied with the consultation process.
The Carland Community Support Group, formed of parents of children at the school, which was declared unviable, announced afterwards that it believed the decision to be final but also declared that joy to be tinged with disappointment that the matter had gone so far.
"This could have been sorted out by the trustees at local level a lot earlier," said chairman Raymond Stewart. "They should have identified that the school was viable a year ago. It was only when we took the matter to the High Court that the Government was able to focus on the real issues."
He added: "The people involved in the management of the school should have come to this decision. Common sense should have prevailed at an earlier stage when it was up to them."
Mr Stewart said the group was now keen to work with the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and the school trustees, who include Fr Patrick Finnegan, parish priest of St Patrick's Church in Donaghmore, to ensure that the school is developed properly in the future.