Friday, 14 May 2010

Let’s play happy families!

WHEN it comes to agreement and accord it seems that the ministers who serve the people of Northern Ireland set less than a shining example to the populace.

A case in point is the ICAN centre in Ballynahinch. This accredited centre, which helps young children with difficulties gain the communications and other skills to enter mainstream education, is faced with closure with funding being withdrawn.

Now, the Minister for Education says it is the fault of the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety. The Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety says it is the fault of the Minister for Education. They also, variously, blame the education and library board, Executive colleagues who have imposed cuts and anyone’s granny who once spoke up about real life issues.

In a debate earlier this week, the Assembly heard much about the good work undertaken at the ICAN centre. It heard how lives had been changed. It heard how much can be saved through early intervention.

The debate, however, did not give any indication of a solution.

While ministers wrangled and argued the victims are not those who have had points scored against them in the heat of debate. The victims are the children and families who will no longer have a service.

In other words, those whom the Ministers claim to serve. Has the notion of public service been sacrificed at the altar of a poor blame game? Unfortunately that seems to be the case.

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