I wasn't surprised to read this morning that the CORI report due out tomorrow will show that the gap between rich and poor in this state continues to widen. I see this with my own eyes, walking around the North Inner City.

What I do find absolutely shocking in that report is the statistic that 22.6% of the adult population are functionally illiterate. 22.6%!

Very serious questions have to be asked as to how nearly one out of every four people in this state can go through twelve years of schooling and emerge lacking such a basic skill. There is clearly something very wrong with an education system that allows this to happen. And I have to conclude that primary responsibility for this disaster must rest with those who have primary responsibility for education.

I am not trying to engage in gratuitous Church-bashing. I acknowledge that, in many countries, Catholic schools have superior performance records in comparison with other schools (although that is often due to factors such as self-selection rather than anything inherent to Catholic education itself). But the fact is that the Church has been given a job to do in this state and with an almost one-in-four failure rate, it is clearly not being done. This needs to be recognised.


In other news, I see that Republican Sinn Féin invited POW-turned-right wing ethnonationalist Gerry McGeough to speak at their annual hunger strike commemoration. I find this a bit perplexing. I know that many RSF members share McGeough's reactionary views on reproductive freedom (as, sadly, do too many members of my own party), but I am surprised RSF would want to associate themselves with someone now in the news mostly for his ties to fascist sympathiser Justin Barrett and for his slurs on gays and immigrants.

RSF are already viewed by a lot of people, including those who tend to share their analysis of the national question, as fundamentalist political dinosaurs. From the discussions I have had with republicans of the dissident variety, I know that this reputation is impeding RSF's growth and they are not going to shake it by offering a platform to the likes of Gerry McGeough.

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