First Minister pays
a visit to Dromore

Alderman Paul Rankin with Brenda Hale MLA and First Minister Arlene Foster.
Alderman Paul Rankin with Brenda Hale MLA and First Minister Arlene Foster.

Dromore woman Joy Bingham, whose relatives died in an IRA firebomb attack, will meet First Minister Arlene Foster when she visits town today (Tuesday).

Mrs Bingham’s family only recently marked the 40th anniversary of the attack in which her sister Noeline and their parents, William and Elizabeth Herron, were murdered.

She was delighted, she said, with the opportunity to meet Mrs Foster and “give her a brief insight to that dreadful night, on 7 April 1976, when my family was decimated”.

She added: “They say that time heals; it certainly takes a lot of it, and left behind are the scars and loss that never go away.”

The DUP leader will also visit Via Wings’ ‘Hope&Soul’ store, where she will meet Gail Redmond and volunteers to discuss the charity’s community work and future funding streams.

The charity is eager to offer the First Minister an insight into its long-term vision for Dromore.

Mrs Foster’s own vision for Northern Ireland is expected to be on the agenda when she visits Dromore High School, where Sixth Form students have been invited to quiz her and Assembly election candidate Brenda Hale.

Seeking re-election as a Lagan Valley MLA, Mrs Hale said ahead of today’s visit that she was delighted to have been able to invite the First Minister to Dromore.

Both of them, she said, were expecting keen interest from High School students, whose questions were sure to cover a breadth of issues.

Mrs Hale has also called together local school principals and governors to discuss what she called “the latest budgetary constraints that (outgoing Stormont Education Minister) Mr O’Dowd has placed on schools within the controlled sector”.

She added: “The way the Education Minister and his department imposed these cuts – only informing schools on Good Friday, has created a deep concern for principals, with now many schools having no option but to go into the red if they are to deliver the education our children deserve.

“It is vitally important that the First Minister gets another chance to discuss with principals a better way forward.”