DUA Success in SRC Elections

We would like to congratulate DUA member Stephen McIlveen LL.B on his election as Speaker of the Students’ Representative Council.

We are confident that he will carry out his important duties with impartiality and fairness at all times. He will also become the only unionist to sit on the Students’ Union Executive Management Committee.

The DUA were also successful in getting members elected to the Academic Council, Students’ Union Management Committee and Academic Board. Congratulations also to the many DUA Councillors elected to various SRC Committees.

DUP is the only Party to safeguard academic selection says Storey

North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has rejected criticism of the DUP position on academic selection and reminded critics that it is only as a result of the actions of the DUP that academic selection will continue to be available. The DUP’s Education Spokesman said,

“Those who are constant critics of the DUP should cease from their scaremongering. It is sad that rather than back the DUP’s strong stance on academic selection, they prefer to attack the DUP and give relief to the enemies of our excellent education system.

The DUP worked extremely hard to secure academic selection at St Andrews. While others would advocate Direct Rule, thereby guaranteeing the abolition of all forms of academic selection, the dismantling of the Craigavon based Dickson Plan and destruction of our education, we would not countenance anything that would weaken that legal reality in any way.

Our position is clear. On the principle of academic selection at 11, the legal reality is that the Education Minister cannot abolish academic selection without political agreement. She will not get that political agreement. Indeed, at this stage agreement is unlikely over the whole issue of post primary transfer.

On the question of what age transfer would take place, the DUP’s position is very clear. Currently pupils transfer at age 11. The DUP is engaged in discussions on the basis that this will continue to be the case. It is for others to produce papers and ideas to convince us of the contrary. There is not the slightest indication of that happening.

The DUP has been willing to listen to the arguments put forward for 14 but remain unconvinced. The idea of transfer at 14 would present huge difficulties, educationally, financially and practically.

Dozens of schools intend to implement a new transfer test but currently that would be unregulated. We wish to see this test brought under the Department’s umbrella.

An unregulated system is not our desired outcome. Colleagues and I have been having discussions with stakeholders and other parties about how this issue can be resolved in the context of the legal reality that academic selection will continue.

We are only too well aware of the confusion felt by parents and pupils at this time as a result of the Minister’s behaviour and we are determined to secure the best outcome for everyone in Northern Ireland.

In any discussions we have had, we are working on the basis that the entitlement the DUP secured for schools to have the freedom to select at 11 is our baseline position. We are open to listen to any further improvement that can incorporate this and build on it which other parties can offer.

We have always supported local solutions for local areas and we realise that those in the Craigavon area are very complimentary of their Dickson Plan system. If other areas of the Province sought to adopt such a system and there was clear public support for it that is something we would all have to consider. However we are absolutely convinced that the right of 11-18 grammars to select on the basis of academic ability at 11 must always be safeguarded.”

DUP has saved Academic Selection says Poots

Edwin Poots, DUP Assembly Member for Lagan Valley has re-affirmed the DUP’s commitment to the concept of academic selection. The DUP MLA said that any future educational arrangements must contain academic selection at their centre and called on those scare-mongering around the issue to recognise the political and legal reality that selection is enshrined in law and will remain in place.Speaking today Edwin Poots said:

“The DUP believes in academic selection. As a party we are committed to the concept fully. Indeed we placed such a high priority on saving our grammar schools that we made the retention of academic selection a key demand in the St. Andrews negotiations.

People need to remember what the education system would look like had we not got a devolved assembly at Stormont. We would not be having a discussion about the future of post-primary education because the issue would have been settled by the direct rule regime long ago. Academic selection would have been outlawed. Northern Ireland would be operating under the failed comprehensive model right now. Our grammar schools would have been abolished or forced to turn into fee-paying private schools where those with the most money got access to them. The DUP stopped that disastrous prospect from coming about. Even our harshest critics, including those who are attempting to whip up public concerns over this issue acknowledged at the time of the St. Andrews talks that the DUP saved academic selection.

The DUP is working to find a way forward on this issue – one that creates a truly holistic education system in which all of our children can achieve their full potential and which retains academic selection at the centre.”


North Belfast DUP MLA Nelson McCausland has hailed the announcement regarding the devolution of justice powers as a good deal for Unionism. The DUP MLA lambasted Jim Allister’s scaremongering by pointing out that that all sensible unionists will welcome the announcement. Mr McCausland outlined the concerns which unionists had about the devolution of justice powers to Stormont and underscored how they had been resolved. Mr McCausland said,
“It is sad that on a day when a good deal has been announced for unionists Jim Allister has his focus on doing the work of republicans by scaremongering that the deal is a success for republicans. Such foolish speak simply reinforces the argument that there are some people in society who wouldn’t know a good deal if it hit them.
The key concerns for unionists around the devolution of policing and justice powers to Stormont were outlined in our policy papers and in our 2007 Manifesto – which Jim Allister helped write. The 2007 Manifesto outlined very clearly that the Party was in favour of devolving policing and justice in the right circumstances.
Our concerns about devolving these sensitive powers have been satisfactorily dealt with;
All sensible unionists will welcome that politicians will have no role in the appointment of judges thus protecting the independence of the judiciary.
All sensible unionists will welcome that there will be no Sinn Fein Minister of Justice as the cross-community vote gives the DUP a veto on who the Minister would be.
Finally, all sensible unionists will welcome that the DUP’s Triple-Lock, on when the powers would be devolved, is still in place.
Contrary to Jim Allister’s scaremongering, this process represents a good way forward, one which can see the devolution of Justice in a way which can command the support of unionists in Northern Ireland.”

DUA @ Remembrance Sunday

On Sunday 8th of November 2008 officers of the DUA laid a wreath as part of the official Queen’s University Act of Remembrance.

The Association was represented by Thomas Hogg, Stephen Dunne, Ben Mallon, Dean McSorley, Jonathan Clarke and Neil Baird. Around a twenty wreaths were laid in total on behalf other Societies, Graduate Organisations and the University.

Remembrance Sunday at Queen’s

This Sunday 9th November 2008 the DUA will be taking part in the University’s Act of Remembrance.
Those taking part in the wreath laying ceremony are asked to meet in the Welcome Centre at 10:30am for the procession at 10:45am.
Staff, students, families and friends are invited to attend the Ceremony at 11am at the Queen’s war memorial (outside the Lanyon building). Refreshments will be served after the ceremony in the Sir. Wm. Whitla Hall for all those attending.