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Complaint over DUP attacks on Caitriona Ruane

Outspoken DUP attacks on Education Minister Caitriona Ruane are to be referred to the Assembly Speaker after claims they overstepped parliamentary rules.

Sinn Fein complained after a number of DUP representatives accused the minister of being bullying, threatening, malevolent and mischief-making.

The comments came in a series of attacks over Department of Education guidance on how primary schools should and should not co-operate with unofficial academic tests in grammar schools.

The DUP won cross-party support in the Assembly for its claims the move would restrict principals' ability to advise parents — but Sinn Fein said the issue emerged following requests for guidance on how to deal with the unofficial tests.

The DUP’s Mervyn Storey said: “What has been the hallmark of the minister? Be malevolent, be involved in meddling in the hope that somehow you will be able by some other means to wear down the system in such a way that people will ultimately roll over.”

When the DUP's Michelle McIlveen endorsed comments by her colleague Jonathan Bell, who she said had accused the minister of seeking to bully parents, the debate was halted by Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd, who made a complaint to the chair. He said the comments went too far and asked for the Speaker's office to rule.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph