Catholic heads slam Obama


The Catholic Principals’ Association has taken issue with comments from US President Barack Obama about what he described as the “segregated” education system in Northern Ireland.

The US leader gave a keynote speech in Belfast last week in which he encouraged young people to work for peace. He then visited an integrated primary school in Enniskillen with Prime Minister David Cameron.

In a statement yesterday, the Catholic Principals’ Association said it particularly took issue with his description of our system of education as a ‘segregated’ one.

“This is a loaded, emotive and inaccurate comment,” they said. “Segregation implies a conscious system policy and practice. It also implies willed perseverance in advocating and implementing exclusion of some or all students of a particular race or creed.”

Mrs Michéle Corkey, chairperson of the Catholic Principals’ Association, said “All Catholic schools in Northern Ireland are inclusive and welcome children of all faiths and none.

“We understand that controlled schools have a similar policy and practice. That Catholics predominately choose Catholic schools and Protestants choose controlled schools is bound up with a history too complex and too nuanced to dismiss as simply as ‘segregation’.”