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Setback in bid to stop closure of Enniskillen grammar

By Rebecca Black

Supporters of the Collegiate Grammar School in Enniskillen have suffered a setback after a move to review the decision to close was knocked back.

Education Minister John O'Dowd approved the closure of both Portora Royal School and the Collegiate last November.

The two institutions will be replaced by a new amalgamated school.

The decision sparked outrage locally, with 7,000 people signing a petition against it.

The DUP tabled a petition requiring the Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin to refer the decision to the full Executive.

But Mr McLaughlin yesterday told MLAs he had received a valid petition - but refused to refer it to ministers.

"Having consulted the parties and given the matter full consideration, I have certified that the Minister's decision does not relate to a matter of public importance. I will not, therefore, refer the decision to the Executive Committee for consideration," he said.

TUV MLA Jim Allister blasted the move as a "studied kick in the teeth to the unionist community in Fermanagh".

"The decision by the Sinn Fein Education Minister to force the closure of the Collegiate Grammar School in Enniskillen rightly caused dismay among many in Co Fermanagh," he said.

"In his first action as Speaker, Mr McLaughlin threw it back in the DUP's face and refused to refer the matter to the Executive."

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