Hilditch Wants Efficiency Savings Discussed PDF Print E-mail


During Oral question Time in The Assembly, David Hilditch asked the Minister to take the opportunity to discuss additional efficiency savings for the North/South Language Body in light of the current situation in Northern Ireland?

Nelson McCausland Responded “As part of my ministerial remit, I, along with Minister Carey from the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in Éire, am responsible, through the North/South Ministerial Council, for the two North/South implementation bodies. As my statement to the Assembly relates to the meeting in language sectoral format, I will comment on the North/South Language Body and its two agencies. We have discussed our concerns about the effectiveness of North/South bodies with Mr Carey. That has to be a priority for us, especially at this time of economic constraint in Northern Ireland and in the Irish Republic. I have asked officials to work up short-term and long-term options to address my concerns as a matter of urgency to provide public confidence about value for money.



Supporting Shared Education PDF Print E-mail



Like others, I welcome today’s debate.  Northern Ireland is going through significant changes, and we are trying to break down the barriers of segregation. We cannot expect to end divisions in society if we continue to educate our children separately. There is no doubt that continuing to do so will leave the doors wide open for the sort of problems that we have been trying to eradicate over the past few years. The benefits of a shared education system are not merely financial but will play a role in transforming society. We want Northern Ireland to aim for a shared future.

The first phase of the sharing education programme commenced in September 2007. In its first three years, more than 5,000 pupils from more than 60 schools benefited from additional educational opportunities across a wide range of curricular and extracurricular activities. The shared programme contributes practically to the role that education has to play in shaping the future of Northern Ireland through the continuing development of area learning communities. Schools involved in partnerships will be able to bring their experiences of partnership working to their communities.

Some pupils said that the project gave them the chance to do subjects that they would not have otherwise done, to meet other people and to learn new things. Others said that they got to see someone else’s school and the differences between schools. It is not only pupils who gain from shared education, parents and teachers can form relationships across cultural and traditional barriers. Teachers said that many of our problems stem from ignorance and that children’s going to school together can only broaden their education.

The programme has released the imagination and creativity of staff, pupils and parents, and their response has been astounding and inspirational. There is no doubt that the programme enables young people to gain academic and vocational qualifications as well as invaluable life-learning experiences that they can use in their journey into adulthood.

As has been mentioned, Queen’s University set out on a mission to reveal the educational benefits of a shared education in 2007. It believes that a shared education will bring considerable and demonstrable educational and community benefits to Northern Ireland. The partnerships that majored in primary to secondary school partnership arrangements offered different kinds of impacts. The educational benefits to primary schools with limited resources were clear, and reference was made to the timeliness of intervention before attitudes hardened. They have demonstrated the enormously positive potential in collaborative learning.

Let us not forget that there is more to shared education than education and social issues. There are also financial gains, with the Bain report suggesting that up to £75 million could be saved if schools work collaboratively. The shared education model should provide practical evidence that collaboration can work to the benefit of schools and pupils.




Much higher levels of collaboration, joined-up thinking, joined-up action and integrated working will shape the future of Northern Ireland. As a society, we do not want to persist with division. Future generations will not thank us if we fail to address the issue. At a time when public money and resources are extremely limited, schools should work together to maximise effectiveness.

It is hoped that shared education is adopted, taken on board and encouraged by schools. Our children deserve more during their education and aspire to an integrated future. We have the opportunity to transform the education experience. Therefore, I ask for a joined-up approach from all relevant Departments, as has been suggested, so that we can make that change sooner rather than later.


Hilditch is Concerned with the Removal of Street Parking PDF Print E-mail

Alderman David Hilditch MLA last monday night during the visit of Road Service Officials took the opportunity to raise the plight of some residents of Northlands were a planning application had removed on street parking in the area . Mr Hilditch explained that he and other elected representatives in the area had been approached and along with the statuatory agencies and Developers had been trying to alleviate the situation . He stated confusion had reigned wit the development being really split over two frontages and appealed for Road Service to take on board these problems as there were elderly and disabled effected . This is a main route between the North Road and Woodburn Roads and the management of the infrastructure is paramount to residents and users alike . In Response Mr Hutton of the Road Service indicated the agency was working to try and resolve the problems and would hopefully have a resolution forthcoming .


Hilditch Raises Concern Over Flooding PDF Print E-mail


Alderman David Hilditch MLA at Monday evenings meeting of Carrickfergus Borough Councils Development Services Committee raised the continuing problem of flooding along the Beltoy Road.  He explained that in particular over the last 2/3 weeks the upper part of the road had been regularly under water in the hollowed areas and the dangers this was creating for motorists.  “This can be a hazardous road at the best of times, the constant build up of water is adding to the problems making driving conditions very difficult and it is very frustrating with the run off available into the forest and the available adjacent waterway, I would like to see the problem resolved before the real winter weather begins”.  Mr Hutton who was present from Road Service undertook to have the problem looked at and assured Mr Hilditch the matter would be resolved

Windsor Park Football Stadium PDF Print E-mail

Hilditch gets involved in Windsor Park Football Stadium, during the Debate on Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland Assembly debates

The DCAL Minister was questioned on the upgrade of Windsor Park and to relay any discussions he has had with the Irish Football Association regarding the upgrade.


Through Sport NI, my Department appointed consultants to undertake the outline business case for stadium development. Having assessed the proposals, together with other options, it was concluded that the most economically advantageous option for regional stadium development for football is to redevelop Windsor Park stadium to increase its capacity of 13,500 to accommodate 18,000 spectators. That would involve significant refurbishment of the north and west stands and redevelopment of the east and south stands. The option would also include the provision of premium seating, big screens and improved access to the new stadium via the Boucher Road.

Throughout the process, there have been ongoing discussions with the Irish Football Association and other governing bodies regarding future stadium development. That includes a meeting that I held with all the governing bodies together at the outset of the process. Members may wish to note that, in the interim, my Department, through Sport NI, has funded safety measures at Windsor Park, so that international football can continue to be played there this autumn. I had an opportunity to see that work at first hand when I attended the 2012 European Championship qualifier match on Friday night. It was a great match, and I was delighted that Northern Ireland held its own against Italy to gain a valuable point. I am sure that we will want to take the opportunity to wish the Northern Ireland team — our national team — well again



David Hilditch,  responded by saying "I note the Minister’s previous answers, and I thank him for those. Will funding be available to take forward the stadium options at the level proposed in the outline business case?"


Nelson McCausland (DUP) Minister for Arts, Culture and Leisure

The consultants’ examination of the various stadium options was predicated on an indicative £110 million being available to government as its contribution to the overall capital costs. That was the expenditure figure that the Executive noted on 1 June 2009 as being the funding required to progress the process on which we are currently embarked. Members will, of course, be conscious of the impending outcome of the comprehensive spending review. Funding will be subject to the normal budgetary and approval procedures, as is the case for any of the Department’s activities. It will be an Executive decision whether the required funding can be found to enable the long-standing and much-debated issue of stadium provision to be resolved satisfactorily.


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