16th February 2001 at 00:00
To the Bellshill Hilton (for there is indeed such a place) for a day spent deep in discussion of "education for citizenship" (page six).

Michael O'Neill, North Lanarkshire's director of education, welcomed delegates from outside his borders and expressed the hope that they would benefit from their trip in the same way as pilgrims visiting Mecca. This was, of course, a reference to the prospect of encountering a deep and meaningful experience and not to the proliferation of local bingo halls.

As with all education events these days, we are not allowed to forget the children. And this was no exception as youngsters from S Patrick's primary in New Stevenson reran their pupil council meeting from two weeks previously.

Michelle McNally, in the chair, handled this exercise in participation and democracy expertly. But she and her fellow council members must have been a bit puzzled when an innocuous reference to the local MP visiting the school sent a titter of amusement round the room.

For this tribune of the people was none other than Frank Roy who has been hitting the headlines for his allegedly solo effort in cancelling the Irish Prime Minister's visit to the Carfin shrine in his constituency. Education for citizenship indeed.

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