Stormont education chair will 
wait for Sands awards response

Mervyn Storey MLA
Mervyn Storey MLA

The chair of the Stormont education committee has said he will wait for an explanation as to why children in a west Belfast school were given an award in the name of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness recently visited St Colm’s High School in Twinbrook to present the Bobby Sands Gaeltacht scholarships to two pupils.

It was reported yesterday that chair of the school’s board of governors, Fr Patrick Sheehan, said a response would be made after it next meets.

The education board concerned, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), told the News Letter that the awards were a matter for the school itself.

Bishop Noel Treanor has said he will “seek clarification” from governors before commenting while St Colm’s has twice been asked for comment but is currently closed.

DUP MLA Mervyn Storey, chair of the Stormont education committee, said yesterday he is awaiting a response from the bishop and CCMS.

“They have said they have to wait until the school and its governors get back from holidays,” he said.

“I will give them the courtesy I would extend to others and allow them time to respond.

“However, when the bishops want to make comment about other school issues, such as transfers, they seem to have no difficulty in doing so.

“Our concerns would be exactly the same if a scholarship was awarded in the name of a UVF member. Convicted terrorists are no role models for children.”