Socialist Party


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10 November 2003

Jim Barbour calls for Assembly to reverse school sell-off policy

South Belfast Socialist Party candidate Jim Barbour has called for the new Assembly to take Wellington College back under public ownership and control.

Mr Barbour, the Northern Ireland firefighters’ union leader, whose central election theme is to Defend Public Services, stated

"South Belfast schools are under threat from the Northern Ireland Assembly policy of selling schools to multi-national companies.

Wellington College and BIFHE have already been sold and other schools are under threat. The Belfast Education and Library Board are currently drawing up a secret hit list of schools that will be sold off. People in South Belfast deserve to know if their schools are on that hit list. The BELB must come clean on this issue.

Privately owned schools mean any change in pupil numbers can very quickly lead to a cash crisis as schools will not have enough income to pay for facilities. My fellow Socialist Party candidate for East Belfast Tommy Black and I will be demanding an end to this secret sell-off policy and for those schools already controlled by the private sector to be brought back under public ownership.

In South Belfast pupils must come before profit."

For further comment contact:

Jim Barbour 07711210731 or Tommy Black 07742405821

Contact the Socialist Party on 028 90 232962 or 07743282321

e-mail: socialist@belfastsp.freeserve.co.uk

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

Jim Barbour is an executive member of the Fire Brigades Union, representing firefighters in Northern Ireland.

Jim led firefighters in the recent dispute over pay and against the run down and privatisation of the fire service.

If elected he will act with the same resolve to defend public services and uphold the jobs and conditions of the people who work in them.

Jim was a founder of the South Belfast Campaign Against Water Charges and is currently helping setting up anti water charges groups around the constituency.

Jim is married with one daughter and lives in the Four Winds area.

Tommy Black lives in the Newtownards Road area and works as a school caretaker in Ashfield Girls’ High School. Tommy is chair of the East Belfast "Water Charges – We Won’t Pay" Campaign and is currently organising across the constituency to oppose this unjust tax.

As the former Chair of the Walkway Community Group he successfully campaigned for better facilities in East Belfast. As a union rep in the public sector union, NIPSA, he has campaigned for the rights of education workers and against the privatisation of our schools. He played a leading role in the struggle of term time workers for a full wage.

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