President Higgins praises charity promoting integrated education in Northern Ireland

President Higgins praises charity promoting integrated education in Northern Ireland

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has commended the ongoing work of the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) for its contribution to peace-making on the island of Ireland.

Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina welcomed Baroness May Blood and Paul Caskey of the Integrated Education Fund to Áras an Uachtaráin on June 28.

While there they discussed not only the Baroness’ work as Campaign Chair for the charity, but also her contribution to peace and full participation in society for children and parents.

The charity offers support for schools wishing to explore the benefits of formal transformation to integration status.

President Higgins and Sabina are life-long campaigners on access to quality education, with children educated together.

While taking the opportunity this month to pay tribute to the work of the IEF - and to Baroness Blood in particular - they discussed with her and Mr Caskey how Ireland might, North and South, make further progress in co-operation.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Higgins said: “The work of the Integrated Education Fund, which supports communities and schools who are working to create a shared future based on integrated education for their children, is of the greatest importance in its potential contributions as to how we might realise a peaceful and fulfilling future for all of the children on the island of Ireland.”

He added: “Sabina and I have been long-time supporters of the Educate Together movement. We were founding members and active Board members of the Galway School Project.

"We remain convinced that the ethos of practical equality that informs the Integrated Education and Educate Together movements is pivotal for our common future.

“An inclusive approach to the education of our young people is an empowering one,” he explained.

“It is one of the most important factors in enabling our children to become independent minded, yet socially informed and responsible, democratic citizens; citizens who are encouraged and enabled to envision the means to a better and fairer society, a shared society where there is room and appreciation for the views, skills and identities of all.”