15 May 2008 Edition

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'Blinkered' Bradley aligned with reactionary unionists

“Blinkered by his anti-republican and anti-Sinn Féin agenda” was how Sinn Féin Education Committee member Michelle O’Neill MLA branded the SDLP’s Dominic Bradley after the latter’s outburst against Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane following the leaking of proposals on ending academic selection in the North’s schools.
Bradley claimed on Tuesday that if the reports he was getting about the leaked proposals were true, Caitríona Ruane had made a “mockery of Martin McGuinness’s assertion that he had ended the 11-Plus”.
Michelle O’Neill said that SDLP’s claims of support for the ending of academic selection were undermined by Bradley who “has yet to raise a voice in support of change. Instead he has time and again both inside and outside the committee aligned himself with reactionary unionists seeking to stop the process of change.
“His response to the leaked proposals was both bizarre and at odds with the response of both the supporters and opponents of the end to academic selection.
“He has done this not with either the needs of children or his own party’s manifesto commitment in mind but instead a desire to score cheap political points. The SDLP leader Mark Durkan needs to make it clear where his party stands. Do they support an end to academic selection or not?
“Dominic Bradley has proven himself incapable of championing change. His most recent comments branding a planned end to academic selection over three years as a ‘climb-down’ are even rejected by the grammar lobby. Again cheap political point scoring takes the place of managing change when it comes to Mr Bradley, an individual blinkered by his anti-Republican and anti-Sinn Féin agenda”, she said.

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