Tag Archives: Trevor Lunn

Time for Action on Education Reform

Is there any matter which more clearly points up the inability of the Executive to take forward important legislation than the stop-start progress of the bill to establish the Education Skills Authority?

This legislation is meant to provide an administrative body to replace the five Education boards, a measure which by common agreement was badly needed four years ago when it was first announced. However the delay in implementation has created uncertainty that has led to the boards losing key staff in large numbers to the point where despite the sterling efforts of those who remain, the Boards are barely able to fulfil their functions.

Originally ESA, was to be introduced in two stages due to its complexity, by the then Minister Caitriona Ruane. However, due to DUP suspicion that this was a means of getting the first bill through before all the nasty bits were revealed in the second bill, they refused to allow the first bill to progress until we had sight of the second one.

With some delay the second bill was produced for scrutiny and the first bill went to the Executive for approval.

In November 2010 it was to be introduced before the Assembly, but it was withdrawn by the Executive, apparently because Unionist Ministers were afraid to allow it to be debated despite all the safeguards and blocking mechanisms they have at their disposal

Now I concede there were matters of difference, particularly around the independence of the Voluntary Grammars and the role of the Protestant clergy (Transferors) who ceded control of their schools to the State back in the 1940’s, but I am convinced that by debate and amendments brought forward in a normal Parliamentary way, those concerns could have been addressed.

As it was, the bill never came before us and we, as a supposed legislative Assembly filled the time discussing frequently irrelevant private members motions, binding on nobody, to the obvious dismay of the people who sent us to Stormont and who are entitled to better.

The present Minister John O’Dowd made it clear when he took office that he would only reintroduce ESA legislation if he was reasonably certain that the same thing would not happen again but he did indicate early this year that progress had been made and he was hopeful that a bill could be brought forward. Positive signals came from Unionist quarters also and even Mervyn Storey as Chair of the education Committee appeared to soften his “ESA is dead in the water” stance.

Incidentally, establishment of an ESA body was a commitment in the DUP manifesto for the May 2011 elections, but on 26th June 2012 the Minister told the Education committee that the bill which he had presented to the Executive on 7th March was in trouble.

Lo and behold however, on 18th July the First Minister announced that they had reached agreement and ESA would be brought to the next meeting of Executive, the same announcement they made after the May 2011 elections, fifteen months previously.

We will watch with interest what progress is made, because while the two main parties play their parliamentary games, the education of our children is suffering and it is absolutely imperative that we streamline the system and realise the savings that ESA will bring.

ESA is one of the best examples of the paralysis which has for too long gripped our Executive. Would it surprise people to know that for two full years during the last Assembly, no discussion on any matter relating to education was allowed at Executive meetings?

The most often asked question from the man in the street is “what are you doing up there” and it is unfair to those Assembly members who are prepared to find ways forward by negotiation and discussion, to be held back by deadlock at the highest level.

Frankly as an Assembly we have run out of excuses, the “building trust” and “getting to know each other” ones are no longer are valid. Northern Ireland is sorely in need of responsible government and the present Assembly needs to prove it is relevant to that need.

“Shape up or ship out” should be our mantra, otherwise I would question whether we should be there at all, certainly under the present system.

Original version of article which appeared in the Belfast Telegraph on 17 August 2012

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Working for You in the Assembly

On your behalf I have raised issues to do with:

  • Promoting new jobs
  • Enhancing our health services
  • Improving our social care
  • Breaking the education gridlock
  • Dealing with the past
  • Tackling the costs of division
  • Reducing High Street rates
  • Opposing the Glenavy incinerator
  • Delivering on the Maze project
  • Pushing for faster planning
  • Making our roads safer
  • Providing social housing

I am happy to raise questions and issues on these and other matters on your behalf. Just write or call in!

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Trevor Lunn MLA

Trevor Lunn MLA

Trevor Lunn MLA
Lagan Valley
07968 154099

Trevor Lunn MLA is Assembly Member for Lagan Valley and the Alliance Party’s Deputy Chief Whip.

Prior to entering politics full-time, he ran his own Insurance Brokerage for 25 years.

At the Assembly, he has served on the Assembly’s Public Accounts and Regional Development Committees and currently serves on the Education Committee (since 2007) and as the Alliance Party’s Enterprise Spokesperson. He joined the Policing Board in 2011.

He was a member of Lisburn City Council from 2001 – 2011 and served as Mayor in 2006-7. First elected to the Assembly in 2007, he was re-elected with an increased vote in 2011.

His interests include church music, gardening and sport.

@ianjamesparsley Better get the new executive formed pronto then😊

Forgiveness, Not easy. At times, More painful than the wound. Yet there is no personal peace without forgiveness: Free of resentment. Retweeted by Trevor Lunn

@JMantonPPNI @allianceparty @smartin123 Two wrongs don't make a right James and if SF do something similar I'll cal… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

There's a sad wee thing. He flew into a window. Not a mark on him but broke his neck. pic.twitter.com/jYL1PGqNBF

@BBCPolitics @StepWalkTV Amazing genius Trump has for saying the wrong thing so consistently.

@AntrimLens I agree but you're being unkind to a really good air museum and dozens of enthusiasts who run it for free.

@grumpyfactcheck Enquiry is under way, we will see where it leads. It's not a witch hunt, just a thorough means of… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

@TheBlowInView Needs the agreement of first and deputy first minister, we don't have either just now. Don't tell me it's daft, I know.

Ulster Aviation Society doing a great job at the Maze. No open days due to Robinson/McGuinness dispute. Let's move on this is ridiculous.

Disgusting attack on Christ Church Londonderry last night. Mindless vandalism. The community reaction is impressive and typical of the city.

@LisburnStar People are sometimes too easily offended these days. It's hard to see what the school did wrong. Good… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

@tomfromireland @AIMWoundedKnee Maybe David meant to say other peoples criminality. Methods of enforcement by param… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

@NicholaMallon That's a nice image Nichola. Add me to the list of congratulations and I hope Seamus is keeping well.

@naomi_long @sianalliance @NualaMcAllister Particularly sad that Alf was a journalist when the Bel Tel was a paper. Retweeted by Trevor Lunn

Presbyterian Church and Irish (Ian Malcolm) pic.twitter.com/KpIKmeJqxh

Retweeted by Trevor Lunn

@Jim_Wells_MLA When Don came to Belfast years ago the audience sang You're my best friend back to him. I wasn't the… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

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