Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland school pulls GAA coaching after parent concerns

A Northern Ireland school has pulled GAA coaching classes after parents raised concerns.

Year 11 pupils at Ballymoney High School were to take part in a GAA initiative with two other schools in the area as part of a shared eduction programme.

However, after parents complained the school has pulled the sessions.

A spokesman for the Education Authority said the decision was made as not enough pupils from the school were taking part and it would not run this year. He confirmed it would still be running at the other schools involved.

The Ballymoney Times reported parents concerns their children were "under pressure" to take part in the sports programme as it was for them to opt-out as opposed to opt in.

"Gaelic football is not cross-community. It is not unionist friendly and I am not happy with the way Ballymoney High School has handled the whole thing," said one parent.

Principal Cynthia Currie confirmed: “The school has withdrawn from this event due to low numbers of pupils from Ballymoney HS participating.”

PUP councillor Russell Watton said a number of parents had approached him and he was concerned pupils would have to explain to a senior teacher their reasons for not wanting to take part.

“There are cups named after dead IRA men. What’s some young boy in a band supposed to do? It is not fair that they’re being put in this position," he told the local paper.

"The three schools in Ballymoney, Dalriada School, Ballymoney High School and Our Lady of Lourdes School, have a strong history of collaboration and cross-community work," she told the Ballymoney Times.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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