Rabbit says report was misleading

Sat, Apr 26, 1997, 01:00

RABBI Julia Neuberger, chancellor of the University of Ulster, in a statement yesterday said the Irish News had done her a "great disservice" in its report that in Belfast over a week ago she had described Catholic schools as sectarian.

She said the report gave a "misleading interpretation" of her views on single religion education.

The Irish News has stood over its report that Rabbi Neuberger described Catholic and other single religion schools as sectarian and said they should receive no British government funding.

And the university, which first distanced itself from the rabbi's reported remarks has now apologised to her. "The university, like the chancellor, deeply regrets that the impression of what she said has been interpreted as a criticism of the role of single denomination schools in the province's educational system," said the college's vice-chancellor, Prof Trevor Smith.

"What she was advocating is the powerful potential of integrated education for community understanding and for fostering respect for each other's traditions and values," he said.

In a statement and letter to the Irish News yesterday Rabbi Neuberger said she had never singled out "Catholic education, or for that matter any other particular denomination, for the charge of being sectarian.

"When I use the term sectarian I direct my comments only at those single denomination schools and foundations that do not respect or foster links with the traditions of others or accept children of other religions into their ranks."

The editor of the Irish News, Mr Tom Collins, said the reporter, Ms Anne Marie McFaul, had a clear note of what the rabbi had said and that she spoke at length to the reporter about the Catholic educational sector in the context "of her attack on sectarian schools".