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An ordinary taxpayer's view of education

Malachi O'Doherty (Comment, October 28) may not have blown the starter's whistle on the debate over separate Catholic education, but he has added his appraisal of the current form of those first-team players.

I have no opinion on the First Minister's suggestion that all children should be educated by the taxpayer in state-run schools. My only view is as a taxpayer.

In the sound bites and lexicon of Northern Ireland daily gripes, we can now add Catholic taxpayers and opposing Protestant taxpayers to the list.

I no longer have any children of school-age, so may I claim that none of my taxes should now go to educating other peoples' children; instead, it should be diverted to enhancing my state pension.

Should those parents living on state benefits, not paying taxes and having children at school, be denied any say in the education of their offspring - and just be grateful for the free ride?

We do not have a definitive statement from the quango of schoolchildren elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly that the education system(s) will be ring-fenced against financial cuts.

But it can be concluded that the fenced-off children of 'benign apartheid', or whatever nomenclature one chooses, will continue in the grand tradition of the separate and divided social ethos that is Northern Ireland, both religious and secular.

M W WOODS

Bangor, Co Down

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