Letter: Teaching Irishness

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Sir: Kenneth James's claim about Unionist Party support for mixed education is disingenuous (letter, 14 October). The state system that Mr James supports is designed to take no account of any element of Irishness in Northern Ireland. It ignores Gaelic games and the Irish language, virtually ignores Irish history, and pays little attention to Irish geography, literature and culture. There may be a small number of Catholic children attending such schools, but these schools could not possibly be classed as 'mixed'.

The new integrated schools, by contrast, have introduced children from all religious backgrounds to all aspects of culture in Northern Ireland. The sight of Protestant children playing Gaelic football and Catholic children playing rugby is still a comparatively rare one in Northern Ireland, but it is symbolic of the truly mixed nature of education in these schools. That represents true recognition of the cultural diversity that exists in Northern Ireland, and it is very different to the support professed by the Ulster Unionists for a state education whose aim is to produce only children loyal to the UK while ignorant of their own history.

Yours sincerely,