Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's segregated schooling system senseless and huge waste of cash, says Dunbar

By Noel McAdam

Actor Adrian Dunbar has hit out at Northern Ireland's divided education system, claiming it is squandering millions of pounds.

The Line Of Duty star said it was costing a fortune to run separate schools - controlled and Catholic maintained - and even more to attempt to bring Protestants and Catholics together when they grow up.

Enniskillen-born Dunbar is a long-time champion of integrated education.

His comments came in an interview with the Sunday Times, which also included his views on the DUP's £1 billion deal to keep Theresa May's Conservative administration in power and Brexit.

Dunbar, who turns 60 next year, said: "Integrated education should be the norm - I'm passionate about that.

"The current system doesn't make any sense.

"We pay millions of pounds to separate Catholic and Protestant children, and even more millions on attempting to bring them together as adults.

"You can't make someone fear another person if they shared a desk for seven years."

Two more seasons of the BBC hit series Line Of Duty, which is filmed in Northern Ireland, have been commissioned.

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AC12’s Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure)

Dunbar's acclaimed performance as Superintendent Ted Hastings, whose accent and 'Ulsterisms' have become a popular feature of the programme, have revived his long theatre, television and cinema career.

He revealed he based Hastings' character on the Scottish football legends Jock Stein and Alex Ferguson, who he said were "wonderful man managers".

Turning to politics, Dunbar said he voted in last year's referendum to remain in the EU, and supported a second vote on the issue. On the morning of the Brexit result last June, he said everyone was "deflated".

"It was like there had been a death in the family. I don't think we should shy away from a second referendum," he said.

Dunbar revealed he has been fielding a lot of questions in London about the DUP.

"Yes, people are inquisitive about Arlene Foster and the rest," he explained.

"In terms of human rights, for example, they are regressive by any standards. Liberal London is bewildered."

Despite his new national stardom, Dunbar has not forgotten local acting and, in particular, his role with the now-annual Enniskillen International Festival for Samuel Beckett.

Despite funding cuts "we're managing to put on a very reduced programme", he added.

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