O’Dowd to speak at annual Trades Council lecture

EDUCATION minister John O’Dowd will address this year’s annual Jim Haughey memorial lecture, it has been announced.

The lecture, which is organised by Craigavon Trades Council, usually takes place each November but was delayed to accommodate Mr O’Dowd’s ministerial schedule.

The Sinn Fein MLA is to speak about the future of education in Northern Ireland.

Representatives of local schools, trade unions and political parties are expected to attend the lecture, which will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, February 1.

Mel Corry, secretary of Craigavon Trades Council, said the event will be a good opportunity for people in the area to engage with the Minister.

“This is a great achievement for the Trades Council,” said Mr Corry. “We hope that the Minister will address some of the challenges facing the very diverse education sector we have in Northern Ireland.

“There will be a chance to put questions to the Minister from the floor in a question and answer session.

“Given that a wide variety of workers, and indeed children, may be facing some of these challenges we believe this is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the Minister and hear his vision for the future.”

“We would hope to see teachers, class room assistants, ancillary staff, full time officers and trades council representatives attending this event.”

The lecture is named after Lurgan man Jim Haughey, who fought against fascism with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.

Mr Haughey, from North Street, was incarcerated in one of General Franco’s concentration camps after the Battle of Ebro, during which more than 30,000 people died.

He later volunteered for the Canadian Air Force, and was killed in a plane crash on September 12, 1943. His name is engraved on Canada’s World War Two Book of Remembrance.

“The annual lecture is a lasting tribute to Jim Haughey,” said Mr Corry. “Since its inception, the standard of speakers has been extremely high and I believe this year’s event will continue in that trend.”