'I was snubbed by my former school'

AN Ulster Unionist councillor has expressed his disappointment at not being invited to the grand opening of Parkhall Integrated College this week.

Antrim Town rep Jim Montgomery is a former pupil of the school and was ‘surprised’ to learn that he was not on the guest list.

And it seems he was not alone.

Ulster Unionist MLA Steve Aiken was not invited either, nor was Alliance counterpart John Blair.

Alliance councillor Neil Kelly was, however, along with UUP man Drew Ritchie - but then he had served on the Board of Governors at the school for a quarter of a century.

By contrast, many members of the DUP were present, including MP Paul Girvan, MLAs Trevor Clarke and Pam Cameron, ALderman John Smyth - and even former MP Willie McCrea.

“I don’t know if they were all invited or whether they came anyway, but it certainly sends out a strange message for an integrated college,” said Mr Montgomery, who is on the Board of Governors at Parkhall Primary.

“Do I consider this a personal snub to me? Yes. Yes I do.

“It seems to me that I’m no longer welcome at my old school, which is a shame.

“I’ve lobbied for them on many occasions and have always been very supportive of Parkhall.”

So why then does he believe he did not make the guest list?

“Who knows? Perhaps it is because I was very outspoken in my opposition to the changing of the name.

“I see that some who have no connection to the school were invited - and they had backed calls to change it.

“That could, of course, just be a coincidence.

“Maybe it’s because I’m very much seen as a Parkhall ‘oldie’, which is something I’m very proud of.”

*See page 13 for full reports and pictures from Friday’s official opening.

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