Bishop warns on secular school plan


A CATHOLIC bishop has warned Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn not to rush plans to put primary schools under “secular” control.

Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore said it would be “extremely unwise” for Mr Quinn to try and bulldoze change in the sector or ram it through quickly.

A former chairman of the Bishops’ Commission for Education, Bishop O’Reilly said proposed changes at board-of-management level in primary schools posed a question as to whether diversity and choice was being offered for all except those practising as Catholics.

“It’s a position that essentially suggests freedom of religion is freedom from religion . . . That’s a crucial distinction and worrying in itself,” he said.

“They apparently want no prayers in school and that anyone without faith to not be impinged upon in any way by any religious content as if it were some kind of an infection that could be damaging to their health,” he said.

He expressed the hope that Mr Quinn would not be blindsided into the implementation of proposals.

“If he does there could be trouble,” he said.

He added that “to try and bulldoze or ram it through would be incredibly unwise”.