We look at the stories that were making the headlines this week in 1983

Parents act on threat to Falls schools

A parents' association was recently established in the Lower Falls to combat the closure threat looming over local schools throughout West Belfast.

The Lower Falls Parents' Association is demanding immediate meetings with education and school trustees so that they can become involved in discussions on the future of the area’s primary schools. These include St Mary's Divis Street, St Comgall’s and St Joseph's. 

Explained Association spokesperson Isobel O'Neill: "We are being kept in the dark over decisions which first and foremost affect us and our children. We are entitled to know about the future of our schools, but so far no one has been willing to give us any answers. It's a disgrace that we parents didn't know our schools were in danger of closing until it was announced on television.”

As well as seeking meetings with the maintained schools committee and the B.E.L.B, the parents will be organising more public meetings and if necessary, helping parents in other areas to get organised. 

"At our first meeting in the Divis Community Centre, parents told us that in no way would they want any of the primary schools to be closed," said Mrs. O'Neill. "Firstly, no-one could afford the fares needed to send our children up the road, and secondly, the schools are an important part of the community."

Any proposal to amalgamate all the schools into one will also be opposed.

"We want our children going to schools in the area, but we don't want them all thrown into one school like a herd of cows."

Flooding in Ballymurphy... again

FOR one resident of Ballymurphy Parade, this is the 28th year that she has had to endure flooding of her house because of damage to drainage pipes. 

Now residents of the Parade are demanding the whole water piping system be ripped up and put down properly.

For five days last week, during the bad weather, a large section of the street remained under a foot of water.

One family, who had their gas cut off by the flooding, had to rely on the help of neighbours for cooking meals.

One local housewife contacted the health authorities because she feared that the flooding had resulted in waste from the sewage pipes being brought up into the street.

A similar flooding problem in Ballymurphy Crescent was only solved a number of years back, when the entire street was dug up and new drainage pipes laid down.

Editorial:  Irish school figures speak for themselves

IN this day of falling school rolls and threatened closures, it is remarkable that the all Irish school in Andersonstown should be growing at a rate that is threatening to outstrip its facilities. The figures speak for themselves.

Starting with only nine pupils and one teacher in 1971, it now has 140 pupils, nine classrooms, seven teachers and four assistants. This growth rate would be envied by many schools at the present time, yet over the past 12 years the parents have had to plough a very lonely furrow indeed.

The reaction to this unique project has ranged from downright hostility from the Department of Education, which has consistently refused to provide even rudimentary financial assistance, benign tolerance from church authorities and overwhelming support from the people in the Andersonstown area, and indeed from other areas as well.

The objective of the school is a simple one. It aims to provide Irish education for Irish children, and towards that end it uses the Irish language as the means of instruction, from infancy to secondary level. This ensures that the children become completely bilingual at an early age, with the resultant insight and knowledge of two cultures and the broadminded awareness that all people are not the same, or that they should be the same. 

Cultural diversity in any normal society would be looked on as a laudable thing to be nurtured as much as possible and allowed to grow with every assistance from the State. But, alas, in our imperialist dominated society, to be different and especially in an Irish way, is to be frowned upon, in many cases ostracized and positively discriminated against, hence the State opposition to the Irish school. 

The parents who set the school up and those who now keep it going, have to be congratulated for their dedication, steadfastness and cultural awareness. They deserve the assistance of all broadminded thinking individuals, not only to keep going, but to spread their ideas throughout the Six Counties as a practical example of what the Irish tradition really means.and seans agam.