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Finally the subject of shared education is aired

At long last someone with the power to initiate a massive change for the better in education. At a recent visit to Down High School, Peter Robinson talked plain economic and common sense.

Some people are saying that it was just electioneering, or looking for a good soundbite. I don't really care as long as the subject is aired and tackled.

Of course, our problems go a lot deeper than divided education. The reality is, nevertheless, that this is part of the problem.

Having separate schooling is financially wasteful and is a fertile ground for prejudices to grow.

Naturally, there will be huge problems integrating schooling.

It will take years, but you've got to start somewhere. The pessimist will say that it will never happen.

But people on both sides said the same about joint-rule. Ian Paisely and Martin McGuinness joking together on the steps of Stormont? Never, never, never.

What about the Catholic Church's objections to a shared education? Many people have realised that the Catholic hierarchy's obsessional protection of their mystical, Holy Grail ethos is actually a cover for wanting to remain in total control. How Christian.

Unfortunately, the last decade has shown that the Catholic Church itself has been far from trustworthy for generations.

Whatever happens, it will remain the right of Catholic parents to have their children taught in a Catholic school.

However, they may have to pay for the privilege. Still, it will be their choice.

The present, separate system cannot be justified.

TJ McCLEAN

Belfast

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