A fellow Assembly member said of Caitriona Ruane;  “She obviously has ability but I can’t take her seriously,” says  “When you analyze what she’s saying, it’s claptrap. It’s all maudlin clichés.”

The criticism is that she’s too PC.

A local political rival said; “Vera McVeigh, a woman in her 80s, had stood in a bog amidst a failed search to find the body of her son Columba, one of the Disappeared. Instead of fussing over what baloney I was called, Caitriona should have been trying to find out from the IRA where Columba was buried and ending a degrading situation for a real Irish woman.”

During a suicide awareness campaign, some people were struck by Ruane’s commitment and compassion .”I always found Caitriona genuine, courteous and friendly,” says former Sinn Féin Assembly member, John Kelly. “She’s more than capable of handling education. She’ll prove the most able of all the Sinn Féin ministers.”

Her biggest challenge in education has been securing a replacement for the eleven-plus exam and winning unionist approval for it.


It is said she finds great joy in her daughters who, with their mother, play for the Newry and Warrenpoint Tennis Club.

Unfortunately Caitriona’s record while playing for Ireland in the Federation Cup was only one of  losses.

The trend seems set to continue.