Northern Ireland

Peter Weir: Education minister visits Irish language school Coláiste Feirste

Peter Weir talks to pupils at Coláiste Feirste Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Peter Weir said he will "try to treat everyone equally" while he is education minister

Education Minister Peter Weir has said he will be a minister for all schools and will not give preferential treatment to one sector over another.

Mr Weir was speaking during a visit to an Irish language school, his first ministerial visit since taking up office last week.

He met staff and pupils at Coláiste Feirste in west Belfast on Thursday morning.

The DUP minister was also shown a new £15.5m extension at the school.

During the visit, he told the BBC that "no pupil should be disadvantaged by what is on their school badge".

He said he was determined to be a "minister for all" and said that throughout his tenure in office he will "try to treat everyone equally".

Investment

Questioned on whether the funding of Irish language schools marked a DUP policy shift, he said there is "always a balance to be struck between what parents demand and what is an efficient use of resources".

The extension is one of 18 major capital projects announced in 2012 and will provide new enhanced sports and teaching facilities.

The £15m investment at Coláiste Feirste is one of 18 major capital projects announced in 2012.

It will result in a new sports hall, changing rooms, new sports pitches, including a full-size 3G Gaelic games pitch, and enhanced teaching facilities.

The visit of Mr Weir was welcomed by school principal Garaí Mac Roibeaird.

He said the visit marked "the start of a new relationship with the new minister".

He added: "We are so glad so early in his term of office that he came out to an Irish medium school."

The school building in west Belfast was originally designed to house 300 pupils and now has 612.

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